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Friday, August 25, 2017

Party Boys - Daddyland

Name: Party Boys
Album: Daddyland
Year: 1987
Style: Art-Rock, Folk-Blues
Similar Bands: Half Japanese, Velvet Underground
One Word Review: Fragile, theater-minoring surf-folk reverb.
Based Out Of:  Los Angeles
Label: Nate Starkman & Son, Independant Project Records, Fundamental Music
 Daddyland: Cover, Liner Notes, Record
Daddyland: Back, Sleeve, Record
PR Note
Daddyland (1987)
  1. Don't Be Kind 3:11
  2. The Spring Street Shuffle 3:19
  3. Nora 3:54
  4. 10 Minute Song 4:49
  5. Spoonful 2:28
  6. I Love You 3:23 /
  7. Walk Me Down 4:55
  8. Dirty Girls 6:06
  9. Daddyland 7:20
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Gillean McLeod
James Duck
Donald Dunham
Fred Arbegast
John Dyer
Marnie Weber (Spirit Girls)
Gary Held - Promo Contact
Richard Jordan - Distribution Contact
Phil Singher - Engineer

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of them, but this album looks very interesting. A mix of low budget and just out there in randomness, from the image on the back, to the drawing of a model on the front to the headless warrior on the sleeve and record label. It's hard to get an idea of what this is going to contain. The bio included a mix of drenched reverb vox, art-damaged-music, and a reworking of traditional blues. So yeah, still up in the air.

Album review:  
The only member of the band that had a career outside of the band was Marnie Weber, who was more artistically inclined, and made the cover art for Sonic Youth’s A Thousand Leaves record. This is the Party Boys’ third album. Honestly, I can’t imagine how these tracks transitioned live, but I hope there was an accompanying intricate stage show.

“Don't Be Kind” quietly fades up with an ominous, wavering vocal chant, and dark chamber synth. It’s a little Dracula-like performance art. The song slowly grows, and the vocals become unbalanced and emotional. Quite a weird song.
“The Spring Street Shuffle” also comes in with some irregular notes and eerie effects. The vocals are spoken with lots of echoing reverb, and act like directions to a yoga work out or something instructional. There is a little surf element in the short, looping melody. It also ends with some emotion outpouring.
“Nora” has higher pitch vocals, which are equally irregular and brittle. The slide/surf guitar still exists in the background, but a lead bass line is more in the forefront, and overall, the sound is more upbeat, but just by a little. The main lyric is “My Name Is” which leads up to the song title. The song ends as it loses the instrumentation, and the lyrics are sung on repeat upscale to an increasingly high pitch.
“10 Minute Song” begins with watery, “alternative” chords, and some C&W slide guitar, with a horse-slopping tempo underneath. The vocals are nearly whispered, and sound like they are being sung as air is being sucked in, rather than exhaled. The vocals increase in wavering emotion, and appear to be in pain at times. The hooks are very short and quite repetitive, as I was hoping for a little more diversity in the track.
“Spoonful” has a back and forth range-riding cowboy atmosphere to it, but the guitars echo and the vocals are shared, there is the fragile deep set, and a higher pitch that we heard on “Nora,” that reminds me a little of the Velvet Underground.
“I Love You” sounds like a layered single note guitar melody, with bass quietly added in the background. The vocals are quiet, and sound like they are just reading ingredients on the back of a box of cereal. The song grows and becomes more dense with heavier bass and haunting effects added in behind. But there is a certain air of confidence about this song. It gets quite uncomfortable when the calm vocals suddenly emote singing the title. Later they are echoed with a chorus behind.

“Walk Me Down” begins with a catchy hook that is layered and built upon strictly following the 10-note melody. The vocals are barely there, chanted and echoing with reverb. The song builds and the guitar disappears, leaving the bass to play the same hook. The melody shifts a little, sounding more like a New Order bass line, with some whistling behind, and then some vocals sing “Ey-Yigh-Yigh.” Then everything just fades out.
“Dirty Girls” has another nearly 30 second fade up of minimal 2-chord guitar and a dark bass line. A strained vocal, barely able to udder syllables, let alone words chants along. It builds, like many of the songs do in emotional intensity, but it does not change the overall sound or hook.
“Daddyland” is the longest song on the record, and it ends with a straight ahead guitar 2 chord, 4 note progression that repeats to insanity. The vocals are nothing new, a mix of beatnik poetry and instruction reciting that increases in emotion as the song increases in thickness. The side-bar instruments follow the melody and drive, but tend to spur off into their own direction and mini-melodies. The song begins its final decent with fuzzy feedback guitars, and vocals that drift away from the front, and echo as they disperse. It is really too drawn out to keep the attention, and there has been nothing prior to assume there will be something redeeming hidden at the end. 

Stand Out Track: Walk Me Down

Links:
Discogs

Hyenas in the Desert - Die Laughing

Name: Hyenas in the Desert
Album: Die Laughing
Year: 1996
Style: Hip/Trip Hop
Similar Bands: Mobb Deep, Jedi Mind Tricks, Boo-Ya Tribe, Coolio, Eminem
One Word Review: Sinister Lurking Eerie Poetry
Based Out Of: Long Island, NYC
Label: SLAM Jamz, Columbia, 
 Die Laughing - Cover, Sleeve, Record
Die Laughing Back, Sleeve, Record
Die Laughing (1996)
  1. Elephant Graveyard 1:30
  2. Can You Feel It 4:13
  3. Wild Dogs 3:39
  4. The Longest Night (Journal #1) 1:49
  5. Concubinez 2:35 /
  6. Why Me 4:32
  7. Fresh Meat :20
  8. Hyenas in the Desert 2:27
  9. Other Side of Midnight 3:54
Album Rating (1-10): (now this is not in my typical wheelhouse) 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Kendo - Vox (Chuck D)
Sean Evans - Art Direction, Design
Studdah Man - Engineering, Mixing
Chuck D - Executive Producer (Public Enemy)
Gary G-Whiz - Exec. Producer, Mixer, Engineering
Tom Coyne - Mastering
Exum - Photography
Bob Fudjinski - Mixing
Vinny Nicoletti - Asst Mixing

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. From the look of it, font of the band name, Jason hockey mask, and song titles, I'd assume they are some sort of horror/death metal band.

Album Review: This was the first record to be released under Chuck D’s imprint. The duo of Kendo and Gary G-Whiz worked with Chuck D in different capacities, and teamed up to make this record, but never followed up with anything further, perhaps due to lack of promotion of this product. There is a steady concept throughout the entire album, basically placing Hyenas in the Desert as the villain of a typical horror movie: which works, knowing how hyenas stalk their prey and mercilessly attack and kill, all the while cackling with their jarring laughter.

“Elephant Graveyard” echos with cymbals, cynical laughter and bird calls. A slow trip-hop beat starts, with vocals spoken over top. Even the vocals repeat like an echo in a cave.
“Can You Feel It” begins with hi-hat, and an eerie keyboard/piano melody. The pounding bass distorts when it blasts out in tempo. The rhyming starts with a mellow head nodding rhythm. The chorus is a little more melodic, but is still mostly spoken word rhyming in a style Eminem uses. Musically, it is not just a simple backing beat, there are female vocals underlaid and strings like Gangster’s Paradise.
“Wild Dogs” begins with a smooth, echoing bass line hook and steady drum beat. The rhyming is fast but not quite furious. There are support vocals echoing certain words and phrases or commenting uh-huh which bolsters the confidence and emphasis of the lead. The song ends with hyena type laughs, and the spoken album title completes the track.
“The Longest Night (Journal #1)” has more slow, trip hop drum and bass, along with some crystal-like keyboard notes. Lyrics are quiet, and spoken under the sinister beat.
“Concubinez” begins with spoken samples dialogue, and a three note honking synth effect sets the tempo. The crashing drum rhythm pushes the song forward with an array of rhyming lyrics. Twitters and tweaks on a electro/synth devise are use like record scratching.

“Why Me” is introduced with a bit of dialogue, and then a disco era tone rings through. The poetic rapping tells a story, and again is emphasized by a supporting vocal, but it does not rush through; instead, it is a calculated on tempo reflection. A second set of vocals picks up the second story/verse. The chorus is a repetition of why me, expressing the guilt and circumstances that have lead the singers to this point.
“Fresh Meat” is just a pack of laughing hyenas, which acts like a bookend between the last song and this song.
“Hyenas in the Desert” The tempo is quicker, more rushed, and the bass line is dense, reminding me of Bjork’s “Human Behavior.” The vocals rhyme and interchange with each other in a sort of spiral of who’s attention is in the foreground.
“Other Side of Midnight” comes in with a cackling laugh. This is like an eerie, X-Files type version of the previous song. It has a straight forward mid-tempo drum beat, with the rapid fire rhyming overtop. And the horror movie tense-inducing keyboard ends the album.

Stand Out Track: Hyenas in the Desert

Links:
Discogs
Amazon
Lost Tapes
90's Hip Hop
Allmusic
Rate You Music
CD Universe
Youtube full album

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ellis D - Free Your Mind

Name: Ellis "D"
Album: Free Your Mind
Year: 1989
Style: Techno, Dance, Electronic, House
Similar Artists: Shep Pettibone, C + C Music Factory, Manuel Gottsching, Nu Shooz, Bjork Remixes
One Word Review:
Based Out Of: New York City (from Lancaster PA)
Label: Minimal Records, Criminal records
 Free Your Mind - Cover & Record

Free Your Mind - Back & Record
Free Your Mind (1989)
  1. Gotstobeadrag - 5:08
  2. You Got Me Burnin' 5:29
  3. Jungle Jam 5:04
  4. Took My Love Away 4:12
  5. Acid Rain 5:00 /
  6. I Will Survive 6:10
  7. Cum On U Can Git It 4:34
  8. It's Paradise 8:19
  9. Just Like a Queen 6:06
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Junior Vasquez (Donald Gregory Mattern) - Producer, Writer, Realizer, Vocals, Drum Programming, Mixing, Editing, Cover Concept (The Factory Kids, V-Men, too many credits to mention)
Mark Plati - Engineer, Drum Programming, Keys (Janet Jackson, BEF, BADII, David Bowie)
Steve Wellner - Asst. Engineer
Steve Doria - EAsst. Engineer
Wendy Paff - Cover Concept
Tracy Mostrovoy - Photography
David Bronstein - Photo Asst.
KFC - food
Empire Szechuan - food
Jane & Duffy - Management

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this project. I see on the back the name Junior Vasquez is mentioned as being the man being Ellis D, and I have heard of him as a DJ and techno artist. It is a weird juxtaposition, with the name being an obvious play on the drug LSD, yet there being lots of anti-drug, and goddy verbiage on the back. I assume it will just be some decent electronic, sampling and club music.

Album Review: Junior Vasquez, originally from Lancaster, PA, has been a DJ in NYC for many years, and still will spin a s a DJ around the world. This era of his career as Ellis D has been attributed to creating the sound of House music, and more specifically gay house music, so says Wikipedia.
“Gotstobeadrag” begins with a creepy castle organ note, and the sampled phrase “got to be a drag” is skipped and scratched over the top. A variety of jungle deep bass and percussive elements are bonded together, along with early 90’s synth. The momentum of the title hiccupping carries the song along. About half way through there is a skipping female vocals sample plugged in, that eventually smooths out to a soulful “Stand up tell everybody I’ve got it”
“You Got Me Burnin’” begins with a steady bass drum, with layers added in one at a time, including hi-hat, cowbell, electronic drum effects, and other club sounds. The vocals are a deep, echoing monotone voice. Mixed in are female disco vocals, singing the song’s title.
“Jungle Jam” features as you can imagine wood block and bass jungle beats, along with stuttering vocal samples, and skipping synth dance beats, including a Nu Shooz sounding scratch. The vocals samples are quite varied from female disco, to whispering, to a choir call and response. Some chanting is added as well as a flute melody. But the base percussion and maraca beat carries on. The call and response choir finishes the song.
“Took My Love Away” was a single. It starts as a mix of the now-familiar soulful female vocals singing the title, reminding me of C+C Music Factory, and a deep monotone vocals singing “baby don’t be that way.” Another male vocal is sampled, and added in is the famous traffic/streaking late 80’s EDM techno effect. Later a female vocal is sampled that is reminiscent of Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations.”  Like dancing in a round, a couple bars of a variety of effects are spotlit, and then disappear back into the fray.
“Acid Rain” begins with a rubber band strummed effect, and the deep monotone house vocal repeats “acid rain will drive you insane.”  The female vocals are added in to balance the monotony with soulful singing. A shuffling percussion is layered in underneath. The repetitive nature and echoing vocals create the trance like attribute.

“I Will Survive” was released as a single, and is a monotone spoken vocal rendition of the Gloria Gaynor hit. A three-note, downscale synth bass line starts with a drum machine track overlayed. More elements are added, carrying the dance floor groove along. Some of the sounds remind me of EMF.
“Cum On U Can Git It” begins with a simple drum machine track, and the vocal reminds me again of “Good Vibrations,” particularly the “come on swing it” lyric. Robotic synth effects are added, and there is some scratching and hiccup stuttering. Rather than build, sections are introduced and get a chance to play out, and then are removed. There are a few basic effects that remain throughout. But the showcasing of individual sections is key song motivation.
“It's Paradise” used elements of Manuel Gottsching’s epic album, like the glass jar ping, and relaxing waterfall effects and jittery synth melody. I believe it is an artistic homage to the album. As the longest track on the record, it sprawls out, and allows the individual melodies and elements mix in and out of focus. Flutes, female samples and spoken word male vocals are just some of the repeating effects.
“Just Like a Queen” was a single. Tidal waves of synth flow in and out, as dancey drums, wood block percussion, and vocal samples (female of the title track) are added. The streaking siren EDM effect is employed, as well as other female vocals, and the straight-man deep spoken word. Later on a toy piano tinkers out a melody, interplaying with the steady percussion backing track. 

Stand Out Track: Took My Love Away

Links:

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Eddie Boy Band - S/T

Name: The Eddie Boy Band
Album: s/t
Year: 1975
Style: Southern, Pub Rock, Prog Rock
Similar Bands: Wishbone Ash, Doobie Bros., Chicago, J Geils Band, Edgar Winter Group, ELO, Van Morrison
One Word Review: Proggy Mountain Men inna Pub
Based Out Of: Chicago, IL
Label: MCA Records, 
 The Eddie Boy Band - Cover & Record
The Eddie Boy Band - Back, Record, Letter from promotions
The Eddie Boy Band (1975)
  1. Oh So Hard 4:49
  2. The Maze 3:12
  3. Say Goodbye Babe 3:26
  4. Come on Virginia (I Wanna Win Ya) 3:01
  5. Losin' Again 6:07
  6. Good to Have You Back Again 3:14
  7. The Gambler 4:53
  8. Sixteen Ladies 3:35
  9. Makin' Love to You, Babe 3:28
  10. Mother Music 5:23
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands
Rick Canoff - Producer
Bob Monaco - Exec Producer
Don Sciarrotta - Exec Producer, Engineer, Mixing
Tony Sciarrota - Engineer, Mixing
John Notar - Asst Engineer
Lou Marks - Asst. Engineer
Scott Spain - Asst. Engineer
Josh Leo - Guitar, Vox (The Hate Boys, CY Walkin' Band, Kim Carnes, Jimmy Buffett, Vinyl Kings, Glen Frey, Alabama, Crystal Gayle, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes )
Mark Goldenberg - Guitar, Slide, Piano, Vox (The Cretones, Linda Ronstadt, Al Stweart, CY Walkin' Band, Grimaldi/Zeiher, Max Groenthal, Peter Frampton)
Tim Walkoe - Bass, Vox
John Paruolo - Organ, Piano, Accordion, Mellotron, Vox (Jack Mack & the Heart Attack, Mark Saffan & the Keepers)
Dennis Ebert - Drums, Percussion
Mike Lerner - Drums Percussion
Dick Caine - Guitar
Jon Carsoon - Guitar
David Wolinski - Arp Sting Ensemble, Locrian Mode, Pie Ala Mode, Dialogue, Synths (Bangor Flying Circus, Madura, Rufus, Rufus & Chaka Khan, The Shadows of Knight, The Wild Horses, Chicago, Michael Jackson, Bee Gees)
Jon Scott - National Album Promotions

Unknown-ness: I bought this record still wrapped in plastic with the letter in the above picture (claiming this was a free- remastered, resend from MCA to replace older copies with flaws)  obscuring the cover. I felt a little bad opening it after 30 years, but a still wrapped record is not as much fun. I imagine this will be simple southern AOR with a mix of pub rock and perhaps some blues. Seems pretty cut & dry, like previous bands I've reviewed like Beaverteeth or Cactus.

Album Review: Although this band, the Eddie Boy Band, never made more than one album, and split up after sound / quality differences, the members have gone on to play alongside or write many hits for greats. David Wolinski has played synthesizers on highly acclaimed albums for Michael Jackson and the Bee Gees. Mark Goldenberg became a session musician for the likes of Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Natalie Imbruglia, Chris Issak, Willie Nelson, Peter Frampton, and many more (and was also in the Cretones). And Josh Leo has written over 20 #1 country music songs, as charted on the Billboard Country listings.


“Oh So Hard” begins with a light hearted guitar, reminding me of Edgar Winter Group’s “Free Ride.” It then explores some prog-timed guitars and keyboards. The vocals are very southern soulful mountain man style. The song repeats back to the catchy guitar hook that lead off the song, and this is a solid 70’s jammy song. The instrumental almost goes off the rails, but it is reined back in with the start of the third verse, which gets a little gruffer.
“The Maze” starts with some Billy Joel piano, which is covered over with wailing guitar. The song becomes a bouncy ELO sorta song that dips a toe into Bee Gees disco, particularly with the harmonized backing vocals in the chorus. The breakdown before the instrumental is a bunch of “Doo-Dee-Doo-Doos.”
“Say Goodbye Babe” enters with a rolling drum beat, and a held guitar chord. The song evolves into a bouncy, light pub piano tune. The lyrics “work it out” lead the song into an electric guitar instrumental section. Two guitars then commence playing together.
“Come on Virginia (I Wanna Win Ya)” sounds like an old ragtime band playing on an island cruise ship. The vaudevillian, male vocal / barbershop groups of the 50’s must have played a heavy inspiration to the track. The la-la-la breakdown even has a barker in the background that sounds like it’s coming through an old radio set. The end of the track has muddled spoken crowd vocals, and other radio-show sound effects like a whirling slide whistle.
“Losin' Again” heads right back into a powerpop hook, layered with guitar and organ. Different vocals play in and out of timing with another, and they harmonize at the middle. The guitar and keys divert from each other for the instrumental breakdown. Near the middle of the song, the familiar chorus is changed up to follow a different melody. This is where the song resets with a mellow guitar led prog harmony. This transitions into a multi-part instrumental section that follows the two guitars on their vocal-like journey, which ultimately ends the song with the “First Call” bugle melody on guitar.

“Good to Have You Back Again” starts with a prog hook that turns into a slow swampy rock jam. Both facets of the song interact and standalone from each other at varying points of time.
“The Gambler” has a classic rock intro, almost immediately added to by a jovial, drunken piano, and the song takes a happy back water turn, perhaps a little like Van Morrison. The electric guitar powers through the instrumental at a high pitch, followed by a display of some slide guitar work by guitar 2. It includes a familiar melody that sounds like it is from the muppet show.
“Sixteen Ladies” starts off full force with a driving power pop number. The vocals are different here, more southern in tone, more like my memory of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night” again. The interchange of swampy pub rock and electric power pop finds a nice balance. Toward the end, the organ comes up out of the background to play a more important role in the song’s mood.
“Makin' Love to You, Babe” takes a step back to be more country-ish, with a slower pace, harmonica melody base, and a country guitar hooks in the background. The chorus is a harmonized group of male vocals, which is a little odd, considering they are all singing together “Would you like to be makin love to me, babe?”   
“Mother Music” illustrates more of the band’s free-form prog rock ideals, with sweeping effects, and wha-wah keyboard sounds. The vocals are a little bluesy, especially mixed with the organ and bass line. The harmonized chorus brings comparison to the Bee Gees again. The instrumental section is that fine line between psychedelic and prog rock and it would make for a great laser light show.

Stand Out Track: Come On Virgina

Links:
Discogs
Mark Goldenberg.com
Nashville Music News
Josh Leo Wiki
Allmusic
Rate Your Music
13 Afternoon

Fat Larry's Band - Spacin Out

Name: FLB (Fat Larry's Band)
Album: Spacin Out
Year: 1978
Style: R&B, Soul, Funk, Disco
Similar Bands: Delfonics, Commodors, Bootsy Collins, Parliament Funkadelic, Kool & the Gang, Harold Melvin & Blue Notes
One Word Review: Charming Space Funk
Based Out Of: Philadelphia, PA
Labels: Fantasy Records, WMOT records
 Spacin Out - Cover & Record
Spacin Out - Back & Record
Spacin Out (1978)
  1. Close Encounters of a Funky Kind 4:22
  2. Countryside 4:18
  3. Space Lady 4:41
  4. Boogie Town 5:52 /
  5. Good Time 3:25
  6. We Just Can't Get It Together 6:00
  7. Love Alive 4:50
  8. Starstruck 3:26
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Fat Larry James - Drummer, Producer, Conductor, Arranger (Larry James Band, Delfonics, Blue Magic, Damon Harris, Slick, Philly Cream, )
Art Capehart - Trumpet, Flute (Kent Gomez, Sweet Thunder, Blue Magic, Kool & The Gang)
Jimmy Lee - Trombone, Sax (Sweet Thunder)
Doug Jones Sax (Sweet Thunder, Carol Hahn)
Erskine Williams - Keys (Rick James, Melanie, Blue Magic, Damon Harris, Stone City Band, Temptations)
Ted Cohen - Guitar (Blue Magic, Damon Harris, Slick)
Larry LaBes - Bass (Blue Magic, Damon Harris, Slick, Philly Cream, Impact, Ultimate, )
Darryl Grant - Percussion
Alan Rubens - Exec Producer
Steve Bernstein - Exec Producer

Unknown-ness: Never heard of FLB. I assume it is a standard funky R&B act, and since it is dated 1978, that would make sense. Its interesting to see their take on the intergalactic style of music, probably matching style to Capt Sky and another album I have yet to review, Lenny White. Maybe a little like Parliament Funkadelic, but probably smoother and less challenging.

Album Review: Started in Philly by drummer “Fat” Larry James, this group came together and released 9 albums in 10 years between 76-86. They were bigger in the UK than the states, having 5 charting hits. At 38 years old, James had a fatal heart attack (Dec 87), and the group disbanded. This album, combined with the titles like Close Encounters and Space Lady, has a sort of Space Disco theme, which was a thing thanks to the combination of Star Wars & the era of disco. A majority of these songs were written with Larry’s Wife, Doris

“Close Encounters of a Funky Kind” begins with space noises and synth effects, which continue throughout the song, but the funky bass line and brass section create a fun groove, which is also quite silly lyrically. The chorus is just that; a harmonized chorus of vocals, and is quite catchy. They whole vibe puts the listener in a much more New Orleans mood than Philly. Not that anyone else should care or agree, but the piano reminds me of the 90’s band EMF.
“Countryside” is a slower, mellow R&B slice of butter that has more in common with male vocal groups like Smokey & the Miracles and Harold Melvin than any disco, even though there are some swirling strings, and punctuating brass. This has more laid back groove than Fresh Prince’s Summertime.  The lead vocals are higher pitch (and can hold notes for a long time), while a deeper set of vocals supports in call-back.
“Space Lady” was the b-side to the “Boogie Town” single. And is pure disco, with weird space vocal distortions (can hardly understand when they sing space lady) and a bubbling, rubber band bouncing bass effects. The song advances into a continually driving harmonized disco, with all of the stereotypical affects.
“Boogie Town” was a single. It starts with a drum beat, and is quickly added to with a funky zig zagging synth hook, and brass. The first vocals are distorted through a robotic effect, and then shuffling chorus adds to the disco groove. A different robotic vocal effect; a slowed down, digitized, auto-tune-like effect,  
 assists the next “verse” and all future verses. The jungle bongos feel very prevalent in the mixing. The song feels like a generic song someone would try to make today to capture and mimic the era of disco. I could hear Chromeo doing this.

“Good Time” begins with a simple guitar hook, and has other slight effects added behind. Then the strings are added, and an upbeat, care free disco jam begins to take hold. Assisted by trumpets and ringing guitars, the song continues to use the boogie theme to have a good time. This is like a more laid back version of Kool & The Gang’s “Celebrate.”
“We Just Can't Get It Together” starts with a twinkling piano intro. It builds into a swaying sorrowful slow song. Beginning vocals are deep, speaking directly to the listener. The vocals jump up in pitch, and sing an explanation of why the lovers can’t work out their differences, with the help of a chorus bringing up the background. Flute flutterings also bring in the sentimental vibe as a peace offering to work things out.
“Love Alive” is a cover of a Gary Wright song from 1975. It starts with swirling synth, and gets a little funky with call and response trumpet to keys. It takes the original song and speads it up, ads a little Detroit soul to an already soulful song, and adds some extra funk. The structure is basic, with verse leading to catchy chorus. The song, although able to, does not get out of control with the instrumentation, and instead keeps a tight reigned in melody that is enjoyable, down to the trumpets interpreting the vocal melody for a section. The song gets a little jammy- in a good way- with about a minute and a half to go.
“Starstruck” is a folksy, guitar picking song at first, but transfers to shuffling disco melody with horns and bass leading the way. Female vocals lay the groundwork for the melody and chorus. The verse is just a pleasant, good natured and upbeat male vocals having a good time. Squeaky synth leads the track out, and the female chorus singing Starstuck fades away.

Stand Out Track: Love Alive

Links:
Wiki
Discogs
SoulWalking
Allmusic
WhoSampled
charts
Concord music Group
Rate your music

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vert - Nine Types of Ambiguity

Name: Vert
Album:  Nine Types of Ambiguity
Year 2001
Style: Experimental, Ambient
Similar Bands: Aphex Twin, Mouse on Mars, Tricky
One Word Review: Fuzzy, Muffled bip bop soundscapes
Based Out Of: Berlin, Germany
Label: Sonig
 Nine Types of Ambiguity - Cover & Record
Nine Types of Ambiguity - Back & Record
Nine Types of Ambiguity (2001)
  1. Blindsight 4:51
  2. This Precious Meanwhile 4:30
  3. Codfish Dada 6:07
  4. The Tide Comes In & Then the Tide Goes Out 4:57
  5. Somewhere Between Here & Last Week 3:20
  6. To Be Is To Doo 2:21
  7. Drawers of Water 5:04
  8. Last Night From a Bus I Saw 7:45
  9. Scope/Lifetime 10:11
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Adam Butler - Sounds, Music (Mouse on Mars, Emmanuelle Somer, Carlito Verde, Wechsel Garland, Epiphany Project)
Christian Zimmerli - Mastering
Frieda Luczak - Artwork Engaving
Andi Toma - Producer
McFarland/ Broxton/ Odijk/ Dommert/ McGrane/ Butler - Beermat Artwork

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. The artwork makes me think it will be minimal or maybe some Saddle Creek worthy folksy indie rock.

Album Review: Most of Vert’s music has been published on Mouse on Mars’ label, and he even opened for them on a 2001 tour. His music is more melodic and straightforward than others in his genre of abstract intelligent dance music (IDM).
“Blindsight” starts with echoing hypnotic chords, with light percussive clicks and taps that would feel right at home in Twin Peaks. A staticy electric drum beat gives tempo and drive to the continuing floating chords. Singular elements bleed in and out, adding to the sound scape, and creating a repetitive pattern. The chords leave, for a sort of background noise and skipping solo. The sounds increase and grow, with the electric sound from Orphan Black added in, until the chords come back, with a brighter and optimistic feel. The song has seemed to find its stable place, and it rides out the hook until the end.
“This Precious Meanwhile” has a muffled street performer percussive tempo, with some juggling wood block effects buried just below. A general hum and other organic jar tinking and tocking effects are added, along with a flute that seems to note when the repetitive loop starts over. Sampled vocals are used as another instrument, sounding a little like Tricky. The effects are stripped back one at a time, and the song blinks out.
“Codfish Dada” begins with a looped scratch. A watery & blurry synth xylophone is added with a simple repetitive beat. The song scurries along, fuzzy effect are added and taken away, some are deep, some squeaky. The song returns to the start with the scratches from the beginning. The song rebuilds, as if it is in the forest, with electronic birds tweeting, and other effects that offer a feeling of running through a forest or field. The song ends with the sound of violins and other string instruments in a frozen state of warming up, and the continued bird tweets.
“The Tide Comes In & Then the Tide Goes Out” starts out with some static ocean water lapping on the beach sounds, mixed with muffled wind chimes, and a bubbling, skittering effects. Other watery, fuzzed out effects that could range from underwater sounds to bullfrog murmurs are added. The whole soundscape changes, like scenery slowly morphing as one would walk along the beach. Near the end, most of the effects are stripped away, leaving the shuffling, bubbling wood block sounds.
“Somewhere Between Here & Last Week” is 3 plus minutes of a sort of two tiered medieval flute melody. Melody-less drips or clicks are added, sounding random in the background.
“To Be is To Doo” comes next, but on most listing, “To Doo is To Be,” a 7:47 min song is supposed to be next. This track reminds me of the melodies from Aeon Flux’s early vocal-less short days. An accordion, violin and a sporadic metal tuning effect are added to the song, which has a sort of eastern European sound overall. It is by far the shortest song on the album, but is also the most concise and straightforward theme.
“Drawers of Water” begins with a skipping in reverse audio track, and echoing, vibrating Aphex Twin like crystal sounds blink out two tones on pulse, answering each other. In the background, a digital clock tone ticks on by, married to vibrating synth notes which parallel the two tone sounds as they change in pitch. Then around the 3:15 mark, a disco melody violin is added, looped in the same time constraint as the tone and synth changes.
“Last Night From a Bus I Saw” spins like a scratchy record (or it may just be my record). Spoken words samples with an emotionless tone begin the song, followed by a sad, minimal piano hook. In the background echoes a wind, like putting your ear to a conch shell. Other groaning and slow moving effects create a scene of waking up depressed and in pain. Electronic tones, like something from a horror movie (at first) take over the scene, and grow like they are punishing the ear drums…changing in tone, but never offering leniency. They suddenly stop, and we are taken so a sort of thoughtless, naive and charming melody played on a squeezebox, accompanied with enlightened, optimistic effects that seem to assist the childlike melody along, like a guardian angel.
“Scope/Lifetime” is a ten plus minute song, that begins slowly with singular notes that seem unsure how to proceed…they almost seem accidental, or like they are discovering their surroundings for the first time. Or they might be secondary noises from a bunch of instruments that are being set up to perform. It is quiet and singular, accompanied with a consistent record skipping sound that sets the tempo with its broom sweep sounds. The piano notes begin to get more organized, but they are like a newborn still discovering their range of motion. Vibrating tonal effects, chimes and swirling electronic crystal sounds play together, invited in by the piano. The song gets a lot more crowded, once the skittering bongos and wah-wah electronic notes take over, along with a jazzy cymbal/percussion performance that morphs into electronic techo onslaught (that is not overbearing, however). The song continues to grow and it loses all natural instrumentation for a symphony of buzzing, vibrating, and oscillating digital effects that cruise together like a variety of winged bugs in a vacant lot. 

Stand Out Track: To Be Is To Doo

Links:
Vert Website
Wiki
Sonig
Discogs
Allmusic
Full Album Bandcamp

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Turbines - Last Dance Before Highway

Name: Turbines
Album: Last Dance Before Highway
Year: 1985
Style: Garage, Surf
Similar Bands: Gringo Star, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, B-52's
One Word Review: New England surfboard with spurs.
Based Out Of: Boston, MA
Label: Big Time Records America
 Last Dance Before Highway - Cover & Record
Last Dance Before Highway - Back & Record
Last Dance Before Highway (1985)
  1. Skull & Crossbones 2:17
  2. That's the Way 3:21
  3. Highway 51 1:57
  4. Slop 3:34 /
  5. Wah-Hey 2:38
  6. Throw It Down 2:44
  7. Rock in My Pocket 3:37
  8. Hangin' Tough 2:57
Album Rating (1-10): 7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Jack Hickey - Rhythm & Lead Guitar (Lyres, DMZ)
John Hovorka - Vox, Guitar (2x4's)
Fred Nazzaro - Drums, (The Titanics)
David Shibler - Bass (Charlie Pickett & Eggs, UZI)
Brent Robin - Cover Design
Wayne Podworny - Band Photos
Fred Giannelli - Producer (Psychic TV)
Mark LeMaire - Mix Engineer
Rob Dimit - Engineer
Jeff Whitehead - Engineer

Unknown-ness: Never heard of this band. Based on the logo and cover, I imagine it has some energy to it, and is seeded in new wave. Possibly rockabilly based on the band image on the back. 1985 is not a reliable year, but the angular highway lines on the artwork, and the yellow relief are potential positive signs.

Album Review: Classified as a rust-belt obsessed twangy garage rock band, the Turbines had a total of 2 albums, and never made it in popularity outside of the Boston area, despite having blurb album reviews in both Spin & Billboard magazines. The whole album has the surf guitars turned up above the vocals, giving it an almost live feel, and the vocals come off as a little drunk, perhaps.Or at least like a sloppy Pulp Fiction Soundtrack contribution

“Skull & Crossbones” is a cover from a 1956 b-side from a singer named Sparkle Moore. It starts off with deep, nasally vocals with an echo, and twangy surf rock guitar. The melody is like a deconstructed “Hound Dog.” The vocals are not really sung, but forcefully and slightly melodically spoken.
“That's the Way” feels like a Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet song at the beginning. The art-like vocals are like a deeper Fred Schneider from B-52’s, which is not far off in genera with the guitar centric songs. There is a fake-ending, and the song repeats for about another minute.
“Highway 51” is the cover of the Curtis Jones, made famous by Bob Dylan. It sounds like it is right out of Pulp Fiction, almost 10 years later.
“Slop” is a shuffling, train chugging song, with percussion baring most of the weight to carry the song along. The surf guitar fills in sections solo, and rings out behind the chorus. A harmonica is added into the mix toward the middle.

“Wah-Hey” was a single. The song starts with an echoing bass line that carries the basic melody that the vocals follow. The chorus is a build-up of the “Wah”…and is punctuated with the “hey!” from the background singers. There is a little Devo in the bass line.
“Throw It Down” carries with it a strong punk tempo (sounding a lot like Violent Femmes Prove My Love) and style filtered through the surf-tinted instruments. It has a great energy and staggered vocals that sounds like an almost live production, as the vocals are mixed far behind the instrument (minus the fade out at the end).
“Rock in My Pocket” is slightly- and I mean slightly- slower tempo, but it is generally more of the same.
“Hangin' Tough” has an “I Fought the Law” melody to it in the verse, yet again, filtered through extra loud surf guitars. The chorus does not continue the familiar melody, but takes the song in its own direction, albeit, not as catchy.

Stand Out Track: Throw It Down

Links: