Category Archives: Music News

2017 Music Keeps Showin’ Up…

Though I tried as I did, I missed a bunch. Here’s a few more releases from last year…

My friend Pete turned me onto Ball. They sound kinda like Black Sabbath, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Riverbottom Nightmare Band decided to form a supergroup.

Found this one and the next via Discover Weekly. “When You’re Depressed” is Go-Kart Mozart’s first new track in 5 years, and I’ve apparently been living under a rock and didn’t even know Lawrence was still making music after he stopped doing Felt records.

Asger Techau’s “Stick In The Mud”, from his “Waves” EP, sounds like a missing track from The Fixx’s “Shuttered Room” album, which is a gorgeous thing to sound like. I knew nothing of him before I heard it, but apparently he’s been making music for a quarter century, both solo and with his band Kashmir, in Denmark. Never, ever, ever let anyone anywhere try to tell you that they’ve heard all the great music there is to hear. There is virtually no end to it if you just keep looking and listening.

Addendum To My Potato Salad Post, And Some Other Updates

This was me IRL when I realized exactly how easy it was to make decent potato salad, and that I’d been freed from the shackles of Corporate Potato Salad forever…

(Best experienced for these purposes from 2:23 on, as the link intended…)

I’d been meaning to post this basically since I thought of it, but life (and a flu that beat the flu shot and still hasn’t entirely quit, but is getting there) got in the way.

In other news…

I’ve been banging on the code behind the scenes here, so when I post, some of you may get emails that do not end up going to your spam folders or getting blocked outright. We’ll know when this post goes up if any of it works. Basically, if you’re on the mailing list and you actually get an email that isn’t in your Spam folder when it arrives, comment here, and I’ll know I done good. Actually, even if it does show up in Spam, useful information for me to have, so let me know on that as well if you can. Thanks in advance for that. I appreciate the work that the early adopters to the email subscription setup have done to help me kick the tires.

Watched all of The End Of The Fucking World, and then watched it again while I was super-sick so it was kinda hazy and weird and cold mediciney. Enjoyed the hell out of it both times. I’m not exactly new to the material, though…

I got the first 7 of these when I was in California in 2012, and ordered the rest from Chuck Forsman as they came out. Re-read them all recently, before watching the show, when a new printing of the collected edition came out (I missed the first printing of it). Really happy that he’s got a hit on his hands. If you liked TEOTFW, check out his other stuff, especially his recent I Am Not Okay With This, which is in the same vein.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Skyrim (a well-spent $5, in spite of its various problems), listening to as much music as I can (I’ve posted evidence of this recently, and I’ll be closing this post with just a bit more), trying to free myself from the shackles of Big Social now that I’ve beaten Corporate Potato Salad (I’ve spent a lot less time on the big two sites lately, thankfully), and just tryin’ to survive and stay entertained/distracted without being too numb or too disengaged from the world, or too consumed by the hyper-awareness that it’s burning (with little I can do as an individual right now to stop it from burning). Hopefully, I’m doing right by myself and others in the process.

I promised y’all more music to wrap up, and here’s my friend Andrew W.K. with that music. It’s called “Music Is Worth Living For”, and it’s the first single from his new album “You’re Not Alone”, which is due out March 2nd if memory serves.

I think that brings us up to speed.

Alphaville’s “Strange Attractor”

I put a bunch of work into figuring out my favorite albums of 2017, but I’m like a week and a half into 2018 and I’ve found two now that I totally missed. “Strange Attractor” isn’t a perfect record or even a perfect Alphaville record by any means, but when it hits, it totally hits, and it’s great to hear Marian Gold still doing what he does.

Royal Thunder’s “WICK”

We’ll call this one the first of the ones that got away in 2017. I heard “April Showers” via Discover Weekly just after the first of the year, and I’m really enjoying that and the rest of the record.

Just to continue wrapping up 2017, here’s a playlist…

Over the past few years (’13-’15, I did not nail it, but ’12, ’16 and ’17, I’ve done it, and I’m already working on ’18), I’ve tried to stay in the habit of making a “songs that embody the year” playlist as the year’s gone on, and then tightening it up at the end. I will say that this is the biggest list I’ve made during any of the years I’ve done it. It was a pretty good year for music. Enjoy.

Discovery

I have over a year’s backlog on Discover Weekly now.

If I kept it running for just under 8 days, 5 hours and 2 minutes at 16 hours a day, I could get through it.

I’m not going to do that, though.

I could also go through 1,747 tracks and weed out all of the ones I’ve spent my previous 43 1/2 years “discovering”, as well as all of the ones I never want to hear again and/or know I don’t want to hear in the first place because my dislike for the artist is that concrete at this point in my life, which would shrink it a bunch, but there are undoubtedly songs in there that I’d wanna hear again and/or give a fresh listen to in at least the first (already heard) category.

I’ll get through it, but it went from being fun to being a chore in a hurry (I think because I don’t really have as much “captive audience” time anymore, in either the car or at a place like a gym, and am rarely in one room able to devote my brain to just listening for 2 hour chunks), and kinda stayed there.

Advice from Spotify to someone who used to make both 90 minute and 120 minute mix tapes for people: it’s really hard to keep people interested past the 90 minute mark, no matter how brilliant you think your damn fool “storytelling” is in said mix tape.

Really, they probably should’ve gone 20 songs/80 minutes/recordable CD-sized, in hindsight. Less “discovery”, yes, but also a lot less work and, with great algorithms, more bang-for-the-buck, too.

Lycia’s “Ionia” Remastered

This is a new remaster of the first Lycia album, “Ionia”, that Martin Bowes from Attrition did for them. I would have to go back and compare it to my CD before I could be really sure of any sonic differences, but what I can tell you so far is this:

1. It sounds very good to my ears.

2. It sounds especially good to my ears for being an album recorded on a home analog 4 track recorder in 1991.

3. It’s a really great record that I haven’t listened to all the way through in entirely too long. If you’re familiar, but it’s been a while for you, take it for a spin again. If you’ve never heard it before, but you like dark sounding music, give it a listen. In either case, if you enjoy it, kick Lycia some dough, so they can keep at what they do (they’re still making music), and so Mike and Tara can keep their youngster in action figures.

Celebration’s “Wounded Healer” is out today

As some of you know, Celebration are one of my favorite bands. They’ve got a new one out today, which I am listening to right now, and which you should listen to, as well.

(If you can’t see the Spotify embed above, or don’t use Spotify for whatever reason, it’s on all the major streaming services and LPs and CDs are also available today from their label, Bella Union, if that’s your thing. It’s probably (hopefully) in all good record stores, as well, if you can’t wait for shipping, but want the hard copy.)

It’s definitely them. I’m very happy.

They’ve also got shows coming up this month in Brooklyn and their hometown of Baltimore, along with Out Of The Woods Festival in Wiesen, Austria and a London date in July. I highly recommend seeing them, and I really hope they come to my neck of the woods soon, since I won’t be able to do New York this time out.

Full disclosure, because I’m sure this sounds like an ad: I’m not being paid by the band, I have never been on the payroll, and I’ve only really met them in passing a time or two, just caught a show in 2006 and fell in love.

Music From A Road Trip

I took a relatively long drive this week, and loaded my device up with relatively new records to listen to beforehand. Here’s what I listened to, and how I felt about it:

 

Endless Boogie
Vibe Killer

I listened to this first, and periodically through my listening of it, I would laugh and say “Endless fuckin’ Boogie, baby!”. That probably tells you all how I felt about the record, but if not, it means that I enjoyed it.

Jane Weaver
Modern Kosmology

I’d heard something of Jane’s that I liked on Spotify Discover Weekly, and this record has been reviewing pretty well, so I gave it a shot. I didn’t quite connect with it, though it’s along the lines of other things I enjoy (think a more psychedelic music-oriented Goldfrapp, sorta). I don’t always latch onto records on the first listen, so perhaps it’ll gel with me later.

Aimee Mann
Mental Illness

I like Aimee, but this felt, I dunno, a little too on the nose for me or something. It may sound odd, but sometimes when I put on a record and it’s exactly what I expect it to be, I tune out, and I think that’s what happened here. Couldn’t get through it, moved on. May feel differently about it later, might just not have been the right record for the right time.

 

Slowdive
Slowdive

My 4th time through this. It is safe to say that I like Slowdive better this time around.

The Black Angels
Death Song

I’d heard them once, a few years ago, liked them, but never gotten back to them until now. I quite like this. The first track on the album, “Currency”, was my favorite, but the whole record was good. Loud, dark, a little weird. Here’s “Currency”.

Nelly Furtado
The Ride

This was my second time through this, and it held my interest both times, though I may have enjoyed it a little better the first time. The record’s inventively arranged and produced, I will say that about it. Lots of “Wow, I was not expecting that to happen”, which doesn’t happen a ton for me in relatively mainstream pop, so points to Nelly and her collaborators for managing to surprise me. I do run hot and cold on Nelly Furtado in general, but when I like something of hers (“Say It Right” from “Loose” was one of those songs), it sticks with me. On this record, the one that’s jumped out at me so far is “Live”…

…and then I reached my destination.