Is this record worth a spin? Should I buy it? Will it add to or detract
from my credibility? Should I care?
I wish someone could break it down for me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lou Reed- Rock'N'Roll Animal

Some purists may liken this mid-70's live record as the equivalent to Bob Dylan At Budokan, meaning excessive electric versions of tried and true classics, standardizing iconic songs that defined an era as well as the artist. I don't give a shit, Dylan's Budokan rocked and so does this. Now that Rock'N'Roll Animal has been digitally re-mastered and re-tracked with several previously unreleased songs added to the collection, it's an even more potent testament to Reed's legacy. "Sweet Jane" kicks things off with one of the greatest song intros of all time, "Rock'N'Roll", and "White Light White Heat" are blistering romps, "Heroin" is an exercise in restraint, capturing the simultaneous heartbreak and exultation of it's subject matter, "How Do You Think It Feels", from the Berlin record, conveys a sense of urgency like it's the last time Reed is ever gonna perform live. "Satellite Of Love", "Oh Jim", and "Walk on the Wild Side" are among some of the notable unreleased tracks included on the re-release. Reed's voice is in fine form and Steve Hunter's guitar solos are inspiring. I can't do justice to this record, just give it a listen.

Buy this record if you forgot why rock matters.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sharon Jones- Soul Time!

Amy Winehouse's loss is Sharon Jones gain. There's no doubt that with the decline, and now tragic death, of Amy Winehouse, the boys at Daptone have been spoon-feeding Jones their A-list material. Jones packs a wallop into her tiny Southern frame, delivering fierce sermons that rival the rawness of Betty Lavette. She's also developed quite a formidable stage presence as well, if she were younger and more attractive she'd be a breakout star. But thanks to Daptone's authentic memory banks, we can enjoy our walk down this overgrown path of soul roots without fear of overcrowding.

Buy this record if the old lady wants you to clean the house but you think it's just fine the way it is.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Best of Lists Suck!

Best of lists, Top 10 lists, and their ilk are lame. Most people don't give a shit what you like or don't like. So in that spirit let me present a list of records that I've enjoyed in the past year. This is in no way a definitive list because I haven't listened to a lot of music, and it is in no particular order (I could probably give a much more accurate list of The Top 10 Things My Daughter Does To Drive Me Mad).

1) Kurt Vile- Smoke Ring For My Halo

Vile is a big John Fahey fan and it comes through in his finger picking style. He's got that guttural Philly accent going in his vocals too, affecting suburban malaise. He has veered toward a noisier live sound in the past, but seems to be coming to terms with the beauty of his music.

2) Gardens & Villa- Gardens & Villa

Sort of a new age pop record with funky bass lines and piccolo playing. This Santa Barbara, CA band utilizes atmosphere well, giving the instruments space to breath and delivering some great understated hooks.

3) Ween- Caesar

Not an actual release, it was posted as a download on Dean Ween's personal facebook page, but great nonetheless. Ween's outtakes are often better than many other bands releases. Most of the demos for their Quebec record are here as well as an album's worth of unreleased gems.

4) Obits-  Moody, Standard, and Poor

Just plain old down and dirty rock from San Diego musical vet Rick Froberg, of Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu fame. This is the kind of music you wanna put on for a road trip to Vegas or to prep for a bar fight.

5) Chelsea Wolfe- APOCALYPSIS

She wasn't making much headway doing the coffee klatch folksinger routine so Chelsea Wolfe reinvented herself as a dark purveyor of, what she calls, "doom folk" (a lame title), but the results are pleasant. There are hints of a lot of older indie influences in this record: PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, Polvo.

6) Noveller- Glacial Glow

Assured release from Brooklynite Sarah Lipstate. It's just her, a guitar, and effects pedals making ambient soundscapes that are progressive and regressive at the same time.

7) Purling Hiss- Lounge Lizards

Murky cacophony of buried vocals and blazing guitars from this Philly crew. Very raw, very punk, very good.

8) Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Solid debut from Portland by way of New Zealand group. Basically this year's Tame Impala (if you're familiar with the Australian band). They're not reinventing the wheel but they've crafted a good collection of edgy pop songs.

9) Frkwys Vol. 5: Mirror Mirror EP

Superb series from Brooklyn label RVNG Intl. where artists from similar genres collaborate, often improvising, on a music project. Vol. 5 finds venerable English post-punk musicians remixing songs from the Brooklyn Band Mirror Mirror's record The Society For The Advancement of Inflammatory Consciousness. I think you'll be transfixed.

10) Ocote Soul Sounds- Taurus

An homage to late 60's/ early 70's Latin soul & funk music. The bandleaders from Antibalas and Grupo Fantasma put this record together as a side project, but I think the group will have some longevity. Really groovy stuff here.

Other Notables:
Amor De Dias- Street of the Love of Days
Andy Stott- Passed Me By/ We Stay Together
Atlas Sound- Parallax
Blood Orange- Coastal Grooves
Cut Copy- Zonoscope
Death Grips- Exmilitary
Demdike Stare- Tryptych
Destroyer- Kaputt
Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics
FRKWYS Vol. 7- Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo, & Lopatin
Fucked Up- David Comes To Life
Hauschka- Salon Des Amateurs
Jennifer Castle- Castlemusic
Jurgen Muller- Science of the Sea
The Weeknd- Echoes of Silence
Wild Flag- Wild Flag

The Afrosound of Columbia Vol. 1
AKA- Hard Beat
The Beach Boys- Smile Sessions
El Rego
Factory Dance
Miles Davis Live in Europe 1967
Rolling Stones- Some Girls Live in Texas '78
Void- Sessions 1981-83

Monday, November 21, 2011

Most Over-Hyped Bands With No Future

This is the time of the year for giving so I want to give something back to our readers here at Buy This Record?. Most of the bands on this list will be bands that you've heard of. I'm giving you the present of time this holiday season by allowing you to save your ears and spend your resources on meaningful musical endeavors. You may think that you'll be gaining some indie cred or hipster points by listening to any of these bands, but ultimately you're just wasting your time. Frankly, you should just pick up an instrument and start making your own music. It will probably be more enjoyable and have more longevity than most of these artists. Cheers!

1) Cults
2) Wu Lyf
3) Odd Future
4) EMA
5) The Pain Of Being Pure At Heart
6) James Blake
7) Liturgy
8) Kanye West*
9) Best Coast
* I realize that he has had a few successful records already, but he will leave no fossilized record in the Musical Time Scale.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Worst Review Ever?

I stumbled across this review for The Who's Quadrophenia re-issue on a website called www.cinemablend.com. It seems as though English is not the writer's first language. If I'm correct then this review still has no right being published. If I'm wrong then it surely goes down as one of the worst reviews of all time. Music fans, fellow writers, and reviewers, please grab a handkerchief and take a few shots of tequila. They'll help you digest this trainwreck.

2) The Who Quadrophenia
With the same impact as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, The Who is also a prolific group from the late 1960’s and 70’s who shaped rock and roll to what it would become today. These bands created rock history by working on sounds not yet developed in the industry. For instance, The Who’s anthem style hard rock was a precursor to many groups like Bruce Springsteen and Journey or more recent groups like The Killers and Muse. Unlike those who take their influences from them, The Who constantly changed their sound and developed it on each release, progressing as musicians. From My Generation toWho’s Next, the Who experimented with sounds, styles and genres that ranged from hard rock to opera, exploring each soundscape thoroughly on separate releases. Up until Who’s Next, which came out in 1971, the band was at a crossroads though.

Their decision to change direction could have been tough, but when the “Baba O Reilly” hit makers quickly realized with Tommy they could explore the more theatrical side of their band, Quadrophenia was inadvertently created. The album's take on progressive rock was refreshing, because with groups like Yes and King Crimson starting to diverge into the more indulgent side of that genre, The Who wanted to make an album that relied on song structure, but with the experimental side of progressive rock. Written entirely by Pete Townshend, the album continued with The Who’s famous “bigger than life rock opera” sound they created withTommy, but on Quadrophenia the band utilizes more synthesizers, organs, unique editing techniques in the studio. The story takes place in London between 1964 and 1965, and involves all of the transcending social and musical happenings that were occurring at that time, entirely from an English teenager’s perspective.Quadrophenia is The Who’s most celebrated album to date, and is being reissued today with newly re-mastered songs, along with some extra goodies to accompany this Pete Townshend epic.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guided By Voices- Bug House

Bob Pollard, the former schoolteacher turned indie-rock godfather, lifted off from Dayton, OH, charting a course for the ears of a generation of music fans who, to this day, are still trying to resolve the impact that his band Guided By Voices has had on the collective consciousness. Bob is a prodigious songwriter, and punk wordstock troubadour, who has always straddled a line between a Beatles pop sound and The Who's bombast. Bug House is a "sampler" of live and radio performances put together by Robert Gray, a GBV fan who has taken on the task of assembling many of Bob's radio performances and live sessions into a cohesive compilation. Interspersed with radio interview snippets are some wonderful versions of GBV songs: "Watch Me Jumpstart", "Hot Freaks", and "Tractor Rape Chain" from the 1-2 punch of Bee Thousand & Alien Lanes, a stripped-down version of "Bulldog Skin" from Mag Earwhig!, "Atom Eyes" and "Burning Flag Birthday Suit" from Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. Two tracks from the Do The Collapse record, "Surgical Focus" and "Dragons Awake",  receive paradoxical treatment here. On the Rick Ocasek produced record, "Surgical Focus" is a busy, rousing anthem but is presented on Bug House as a delicate acoustic number with Pollard singing in a plaintive alto/falsetto voice. Conversely, "Dragons Awake" is a restrained acoustic number on the proper album, yet receives the full bombastic GBV treatment on this collection. Both Bug House versions are superior to the album versions, leading me to believe that Ocasek did a haphazard job of producing Collapse (which also happened to be GBV's greatest attempt at producing a radio-friendly record), failing to understand the dynamics behind Pollard's songwriting. Their are some rarities on here and the short radio interview segments are entertaining, and enlightening. Guided By Voices fans will be ecstatic to add this to their collections.

Buy this record if you're looking for treasure in the attic and grandma says it's ok to keep whatever you find.