Good Music / Bad Music

Archive for September, 2009

Mixtape Podcast: The Politics of Aging

by on Sep.28, 2009, under Good Music, mp3, Podcasts

agingWe’ve decided to start posting music podcasts here on GMBM. We’ve actually got a ton of them in storage, but we don’t want to overkill you with them, so we’ll see what happens. Each podcast will be presented in a single MP3 file, with a flow of the music in mind. You can usually get more information on the individual tracks (or the albums they are from) by clicking the titles in the tracklist.

Here is the first one we are throwing your way:

PODCAST: The Politics of Aging

Tracklisting:

“Sgt. Pepper’s Paradise” – Guns N’ Roses vs. The Beatles vs. Jimmy James
“Fine Line” – Paul McCartney
“Coffee & TV” – Blur
“Once Upon a Time” – Air
“Le Premier Amore” – Anaïs
“Golden Age” – TV on the Radio
“Strange Overtones” – David Byrne & Brian Eno
“A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” – of Montreal
“Just a Friend With the Clap” – Shirley Ellis vs. Biz Markie
“Go There With You (Radio Edit)” – Chin Chin
“Bull Black Nova” – Wilco
“Longing for a Frozen Sky” – Ernst Reijseger, Patricio Mura & Gianluca Frau
“Divine” – Sebastian Tellier
“Tonight” – Koop & Mikael Sundin

Enjoy!

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Senryu – Laughing in Slow Motion

by on Sep.24, 2009, under Good Music, mp3

dyinginfastforwardcoverOkay. This is the last bit of Senryu news for a while. I promise…I think. I know they’ve been getting hella coverage here at GMBM. Deal with it. They’re a great band.

Anyway. You may recall that we recently reviewed their latest album, Dying in Fast Forward, as well as the release show for it. We told you that it was possible to download their entire catalog at senryu.bandcamp.com. That was totally true, until now.

Not yet posted there is Laughing in Slow Motion, the companion disc to Dying in Fast Forward. But guess what! We have an early leak, which we’re giving away in its entirety, right here…almost now.

Basically the entire disc is a full on remixed version of Dying in Fast Forward. The songs are in the same order, but are newly reinterpreted and/or reconstructed by the likes of Alkaline, Frozen Cobra, Arrison Kirby, Little Red Lung and Agent15. Though I will state that it’s a near impossible task to trump the original, we’ll leave it to you to review it yourself.

And here are the tracks so that you can do just that…

MP3: “Poor Embarrassed Bird” – Senryu vs. Alkaline
MP3: “Shiver And Shine” – Senryu vs. Frozen Cobra
MP3: “Dying In Fast Forward” – Senryu vs. Arrison Kirby
MP3: “Jericho Ruins Everything” – Senryu vs. Little Red Lung
MP3: “Simulacra” – Senryu vs. Agent15

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Busdriver – Knoxville, TN – 9.22.2009

by on Sep.23, 2009, under Good Music, mp3, Video

busdriverHip hop shows, perhaps more so than other music performances, are very hit or miss. A group can either dress it up, like Outkast, or dumb it down, like Grand Buffet. The best of these offer something more than a dude and his homeys rattling off karaoke. Live instruments are always a plus. A good DJ who knows what he’s doing can win me over. Sometimes all you need are twenty or more people on stage, falling over each other or humping or whatever. There are a million ways to go on the stage. Prior to his performance, I was hoping hard that Busdriver (real name Regan John Farquhar) would not be lazily rhyming over an iPod hooked into a d/i box.

And thankfully, he didn’t.

What he did do, was take the stage at the Pilot Light rather unexpectedly, during the time that most of us thought was going to be an intermission between Abstract Rude and himself. There was hardly anyone in the room. I even thought to myself from outside, “Why the hell would the DJ be playing Busdriver if the guy’s taking the stage in a few minutes?” Ah, but there he was, crowned with Christmas lights and doing what he does. As the people outside slowly realized the show was moving on without them, they gathered round and the intensity of it all increased.

Verbally, he is pretty amazing. Far beyond all the autotuned garbage on the radio, Busdriver’s voice is distinct and his skill is often quick and always precise. Backing up that voice was a thunderous onslaught of beats and samples, which he controlled, in part, by himself. He also had a guy, apparently named Matt, at the back of the stage, working what looked like an MPC and occasional guitar. Matt seemed uncomfortable, at first, but eventually was right there with it. I can’t say he seemed to miss a beat, regardless.

One of the beautiful aspects of this set was the truly punk rock ethic to it. As Matt beat his pads, Busdriver pressed buttons and twisted knobs, throwing the whole thing into a frequent and intentional disarray. The cacophony of noise never failed to segue nicely into bouncy and epic beats, evening everything out and working the room into a frenzy.

My only complaint of the evening was the song, “Avantcore,” which I had no idea was so popular around here. It began with some strange disjunctive omission of notes here and there, which seemed interesting at first. The problem is that it never really got going. It seemed to drag on much slower than I’ve ever heard on disc. I’m not sure if this was an intentional choice by the artist, but it was iffy on the stage. Thankfully, the energy of all else made well up for this single snafu of the evening.

This tour is to promote Busdriver’s new record, Jhelli Beam. Hopefully I’ll get a review of it in soon enough.

Here is the video for “Me Time,” the first single from Jhelli Beam:

Here are the rest of his tourdates, in case you want to catch him near you (and you should):

SEP 23 – BIRMINGHAM, AL @ BOTTLETREE
SEP 24 – BATON ROUGE, LA @ CHELSEAS
SEP 25 – DALLAS, TX @ THE CAVERN
SEP 26 – AUSTIN, TX @ RED 7
SEP 27 – HOUSTON, TX @ WALTERS ON WASHINGTON
SEP 28 – SAN ANTONIO, TX @ ROCK BOTTOM
SEP 30 – EL PASO, TX @ BLACK MARKET
OCT 01 – TEMPE, AZ @ CLUB RED

Lastly, here are some MP3’s:

MP3: “Avantcore” by Busdriver
MP3: “Buy 1 Style Get the 2nd Free” by Busdriver

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Rockafire Explosion – “Love in This Club”

by on Sep.22, 2009, under Good Music, Video

This has been around for a while, but it popped back into my head recently. If you’ve seen it before, the reminder will probably be refreshing. If you have never seen it, you are in for a treat. I’m particularly fond of the rapper.

Ladies and gentlemen…the Chuck E. Cheese house band…Rockafire Explosion!

And don’t forget to pick up one of their vintage hits…

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The Beatles – Abbey Road Remastered (and the one thing they can improve next time)

by on Sep.21, 2009, under Good Music

51jszEU4LVL._SL500_AA240_A couple weeks ago, a remastered version of the entire Beatles catalog was released, alongside (The Beatles: Rock Band).  Considering the timelessness of their contribution to both music and sound, in general, this was excellent news.  I decided to dive in with Abbey Road, which is probably my favorite Beatles record.

Now, I suppose it’s kind of dumb to review an album that’s already been around for forty years and is, by any measure, considered a classic.  So there will be nothing here like: “Starr’s “Octopus’s Garden” seems to be much less off putting than his previous contributions, and fits well with the rest of the record, despite its overt quirkiness.”  I mean…no shit.  Right?  We all know the album.  There are, however, two main observations I would like to divulge.

First of all, the remastering job on this record is top notch.  Apparently, someone spent four years tweaking the catalog and it certainly sounds like it. Though some of the gruffness is properly still in tact here and there, it really sounds as though this is a newly produced work. But it’s not.  It’s the Beatles. As a result, there is a strange phenomenon that occurs when we listen.

See, the Beatles normally make a listener feel kind of happy.  It’s positive music, with colorful sound choices throughout.  Listening to these remasters, however, an undercurrent of mild depression sets in.  We hear not just what can be done with music, but what was done with music a long long time ago.  Because the dynamics of the sound are as crystal clear as any of the music today, we must begin to ask ourselves: “What the hell happened to music today?”

Not all music, of course. But popular music.  In the 60’s, the Beatles were on the radio and everyone loved it.   It was difficult to wrap ones mind around, for it was such a revolutionary sound for the time, and yet it was so accommodating that no one was really afraid to try.  Fast forward to your radio today and we have to settle for Lil Wayne and Lady Gaga?  Considering how much money is being thrown at trite crap like that, you’d think the coked out execs could at least afford to make it sound decent.  What the hell happened?

But I digress.  After all, this is article is filed under “Good Music” and indeed, the Beatles are.

The second and final point I’d like to hit on is something that has always bothered me about Abbey Road.  I’d like to submit it for discussion so that when they remaster the album again in 2020 or whenever, it may possibly have a chance at being debated.

Here we go…

If we are not afraid to enhance the sound of The Beatles, I believe we should also not be afraid to enhance the order of the songs.  That being said, there is one fundamental flaw with the flow of Abbey Road.  I believe now, and forever so shall, that “Here Comes the Sun” and “Come Together” need desperately to swap positions on the record.  If you do not believe me, burn yourself a copy with these songs interchanged.

As it stands, “Come Together” kicks off the album and “Here Comes the Sun” ushers in the second half.   It would make more sense to the flow if “Here Comes the Sun” started off the whole thing, leaving “Come Together” to fill in what should be an edgier, more minimalist space between “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Because.”  Additionally, this would put more songs in between “Here Comes the Sun” and “Sun King.”  Those two “Sun” songs so close together detracts from what would otherwise seem to be an intentionally woven theme.   If my proposed changes were made, we could have one “Sun” song for each half of the album.

I know most people would not have ever really thought about that.  Most people have already accepted Abbey Road for what it is and are likely resistant to the idea of this change.  But consider this: my proposed order actually is the order on some of the older cassette issues of Abbey Road.  That is how I found out, unintentionally going down that path.   Now that I’ve been there, however, I will never go back.

Switch and see!  Switch and see!


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Senryu – Knoxville, TN – 9.18.2009

by on Sep.20, 2009, under Good Music, mp3

senryuliveIn the not too distant past, I reviewed Dying in Fast Forward, the new album from Senryu. Well, the other night, I had the pleasure of attending its release show at the Pilot Light in Knoxville. The night opened with Katie and The Bass Drums. It’s actually just one dude, and his incredibly humorous musical musings, which were usually relating to sex. Arrison Kirby played next. One patron of the evening described his electro/guitar music as “tropical disco,” though I can’t say I agree with this label. Finally, the boys we were all there to see, Senryu, took the stage. The crowd closed in.

Senryu entered the stage, donning a strange assortment of costumes and accessories. White lights shining up from their feet gave a bright, ethereal feel to the stage arrangement. Then, from the beginning to the end, they exploded. Granted, I’ve seen Senryu several times and would, frankly, expect nothing less from them. This time, however, the explosion was so well calculated that I swear there was an IED specialist on hand to see it through. (But maybe that was just Wayne Bedsoe.)

Most of the material performed was from the new release, as well as Pssst and The Guilty Party Rages On, the two full lengths that preceded it. Yet, it seemed there was something intrinsically different going on behind it all. Their upbeat, indie pop was certainly in tact. Surrounding and weaving within it, however, were moments of what sounded like prog rock. There also was epic abstraction in spots, slipping and sliding around the stage, but never cutting its umbilical cord from motherdrummer, Steven Rodgers.

Rodgers’ drumming is something that deserves a special mention here. Always precise and forward anyway, this evening left me in particular awe of his abilities. It wasn’t just that he could keep a beat, but that he could fire off a machine gun into that aforementioned explosion. So quick and direct, it boggled my mind at how he could fit so many nuances into any single moment.

Amidst and despite all of this, Senryu remains a strange paradox. They are a nationally touring band, who can certainly bring it with the best of them. Frontman, Wil Wright, is an incredibly gifted song writer and musician who is incredibly dedicated to his craft. There are few musical units out there who can touch this level of showmanship and ability. And yet, Senryu has still but only chipped away a relatively small bit of that proverbial glass ceiling, even though they hail from the same town as Bonnaroo creator, AC Entertainment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure they are quite capable of making their own way to where they ultimately need to be. Damn, though. If Ashley Capps, or some other industry mogul, would just spare a little bit of their own precious firepower for these kids, Senryu’s awesome explosion could just maybe evolve into total rapture.

Do yourself a favor and download Senryu’s entire catalog by clicking here.

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The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

by on Sep.17, 2009, under Good Music

Flaming Lips - embryonicHey kids! It’s that time of your life again! The Flaming Lips have a new album! Where would the Lips go this time? Though ever innovative, they seemed to grow less discombobulated and more processed with each release. At War with the Mystics was okay, but it lacked the pathos of Yoshimi. When I read frontman Wayne Coyne’s unwarranted, assholish jabs at Arcade Fire and Beck, I grew weary. When “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song” ended up in a salad dressing commercial, I grew worried. It seemed like any direction they could go was going to hurt them, and ultimately myself (and presumably other fickle fans). Which door would they choose?

I’m glad to announce that we can all breathe easier now. The Flaming Lips did the right thing. Embryonic embodies all of the best attributes of the dirty psychedelica we could only taste on past releases. Where At War with the Mystics sometimes depressingly embraced a 70’s nostalgia, Embryonic takes us back to the moment in the 60’s when there was no nostalgia because nostalgia was our parent’s bullshit. And though it’s underpinnings are certainly reminiscent of the better parts of that decade, the whole of the thing is definitively fresh and futuristic – the whole of the thing is definitively Lips.

Coyne seems to have taken a step into the shadows on this one. Virtually gone are his upper range, shiny happy vocals, replaced by effect drenched call outs from some black hole. Here it does not seem to be his words that affect, so much as his voice, itself. Finally, it has come into its own as an instrument unto itself, rather than overt narration. It’s not that his positive musings are no longer present. They’re there. It just seems that the message is now being conveyed by the entirety of the music as its own cohesive unit. It’s expansive and reckless, giving the listener the feeling that they just got together and did the damn thing rather than wanking through some diplomatic process of what sounded good where. The record overimpedes and distorts all over the place, and it sounds fantastic.

Wisely and fittingly, The Lips decided to unveil their new monster on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Performing as a six piece, they tore through the album’s opener, “Convinced of the Hex.” As if that wasn’t enough, they are also streaming the whole thing on Stephen Colbert’s website, colbertnation.com. It’s only there until Monday, September 21st, so check it out while you can. If you don’t, you may have to wait until its official release on October 13th.

Here is a tracklisting for those who want to keep up:

1. “Convinced of the Hex” – 3:56
2. “The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine” – 4:14
3. “Evil” – 5:38
4. “Aquarius Sabotage” – 2:11
5. “See the Leaves” – 4:24
6. “If” – 2:05
7. “Gemini Syringes” – 3:41
8. “Your Bats” – 2:35
9. “Powerless” – 6:57
10. “The Ego’s Last Stand” – 5:40
11. “I Can Be a Frog” (featuring Karen O) – 2:14
12. “Sagittarius Silver Announcement” – 2:59
13. “Worm Mountain” (featuring MGMT) – 5:21
14. “Scorpio Sword” – 2:02
15. “The Impulse” – 4:06
16. “Silver Trembling Hands” – 3:58

And not streamed are two final tracks:

17. “Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast” – 3:45
18. “Watching the Planets” (featuring Karen O) – 5:16

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Kanye West, How Could You be so Heartless?

by on Sep.15, 2009, under Bad Music, mp3, Video

Everybody knows about it, and here is the closest thing to it still available on youtube:

First of all, I don’t generally give a shit about any aspect of MTV, let alone their overtly metrosexual, excessive and excessively lipsynched, shitfest Video Music Awards. Their idea of good music was sold to a conglomeration of coked out CEOs a long, long time ago. So let’s be clear that the forum is insignificant. Kanye West is full of shit in any setting this could have possibly taken place in.

Taylor Swift. I have not seen her winning video and I don’t care what happens in it. I do know for a fact that she started out her career as a professional song writer with Sony AND she can actually play an instrument. Credibilitywise, this already puts her leaps and bounds above almost every other pretty face on eMpTy-V. However, even if she was as crappy as, say, Lady Caca, it’s still her damned award that she earned fair and square through backroom corporate deals. Kanye had no right…

…unless, of course his actions are a result of other backroom corporate deals. And would this surprise anyone? Look at how much attention it’s drawn to the Video Music Awards. I even heard Sean Hannity’s stupid ass talking about it. And who was on the debut episode of the Jay Leno Show the next night? Kanye! Of course! What convenient timing! It’s almost as convenient as the close-up reaction shot of Beyonce immediately after Kanye said her video was one of the best ever! (Remember…that Sacha Baron Cohen and Eminim thing was totally fixed.)

And what about Beyonce’s video for “Single Ladies?” One of the best videos ever, Kanye? I think he should of said, “one of the most underproduced and overrated videos ever.” Sure, it’s gimmick exploded all over the face of American culture, but come on. One of the best videos ever? Not even close. It’s just three girls dancing in front of a white screen. I would like to believe that one of the “best videos ever” actually took some time, perseverance and innovative cinematic artistry to conceptualize and produce. I guess it’s just one more symptom of America’s descent into mass mental retardation.

What the hell happened to this guy?

Of course, he was kind of wrong then. George Bush actually didn’t care about poor people. (He did do a few really good things for Africa during his presidency.) Regardless, at least Kanye’s opposition made sense then. How do you go from taking out your aggression on old white men who won political races under circumstances that were questionable at best, to taking out your aggression on cute, self-made, nineteen year old girls?

You know what my favorite Kanye West song is? This one.

Fuck you, gay fish.

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Senryu – Dying in Fast Forward

by on Sep.12, 2009, under Good Music, mp3

teethThe new album by Senryu is technically not going to be released until the night of their show on September 18th in Knoxville, TN. You know what, though? I already have a copy, suckers. So let’s get to it…

My first impression of this disc is that it’s coming from some place very minimalist. Yet it seems to carry a rather varied array of musical moments, just not at the same time. In any case, it’s certainly the most abstract and experimental Senryu disc to date. The space between the sounds is of particular importance here. While they started moving into that area with their last release, The Guilty Party Rages On, the notion of space becomes fully realized with Dying in Fast Forward. While I am certain the band (or at least frontman, Wil Wright) was aware of this dynamic shift, I must also credit the engineers, Mike Agentis and Aaron Thompson, for their keen sense of production. It is, indeed, not just the sounds, themselves, but the sound of the sounds.

Without being a full on emulation, the whole disc smacks particularly of Modest Mouse, with some of Montreal caulked in around the perimeter. Don’t get me wrong. It is intrinsically Senryu, which is its own very distinct thing. There is homage throughout, though, intentional or not, popping up and subsiding again. This is particularly documented in the single, “Shiver and Shine,” as well as “Jericho Ruins Everything.”

The closing track, “Simulacra,” begins as a Thom Yorke inspired electro-beat song before expanding into something lighter and dirtier. You really feel it, then suddenly it is gone. Gone with it is the entire disc. Clocking in at fourteen minutes, there is the inevitable desire for more. Especially with such an abrupt, yet elevated, end. The whole things works so well as a whole that, since you can’t have anymore, the natural response seems to be to just hit play again.

It’s certainly not a superficial listen. There is a lot going on, however subtly applied. Perhaps that is the gimmick of the whole thing. It takes multiple listens to really map it out in one’s head. It’s not catchy sing-along pop. It’s art. And if there is a structure underneath it all, it’s either meticulously dictated from phrase to phrase, or it’s haphazardly flung on to the canvass. If nothing else, the ambiguity of the process makes this a deep and interesting listen.

If you’re in the Knoxville, TN area on September 18th, come check out the release show…

MP3: “Shiver and Shine (Little Red Lung Remix)” by Senryu

Click here to download the whole damned Senryu catalog.

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Exotic Birds & Nine Inch Nails shreds

by on Sep.10, 2009, under Bad Music, Video

I sincerely love everything I have ever encountered by Nine Inch Nails.  I sincerely believe that Trent Reznor is genius in the studio.  However, there are two Reznor centered clips floating around the internet that keep returning to my head for some reason.

First is this Cleveland local news interview with Trent before his discovery of fishnet arm thingies.

Okay. Maybe Exotic Birds was totally fucking awesome back in the day. According to my vantage point, however, I’m feeling a bit disturbed by the new waviness of the whole thing. Thank God for godlessness. I couldn’t imagine Trent continuing on any other way. And thank God (or some derivative thereof) for shattering his dream that was Exotic Birds.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Also check out the Nine Inch Nails video from the “shreds” series. Anyone not familiar with “March of the Pigs” needs to know this is NOT the original audio track from this video.

nine inch nails shreds

You’ll have to click that link to watch since the guy who made it has selfishly disabled the ability to embed it from YouTube.

I’m not sure what the traditionally serious Reznor thinks of that clip, but I think it’s a hilarious antithesis of what Nine Inch Nails actually is.  Well worth a watch or two.

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