Red Sticker Collection
The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, 2003
I listened to this awhile ago and didn’t like it. But I decided I’d give it another go as part of the ongoing Red Sticker Collection. The verdict - still annoying. Imagine Too Much Joy grooving to Of Montreal and trying to sound like a poppy Animal Collective and you have this bullshit.
Adventures in Stereo - Adventures in Stereo, 1997
I always sort of overlooked this band because of The Apples in Stereo. I like The Apples in Stereo and I unfairly blew off this band because my feeble mind couldn't get over two current bands with such similar names. I really like this record. Right from the first notes of the first track "Underground Sound," I was into this. 18 songs, 32 minutes. Not that I'm saying that this is like Bee Thousand or anything but it kind of has that feel of "Wow this sure sounds like it was recorded in a toilet but the songs are so damn catchy and fun so it must be from the 60's but no it cant' be, can it?" If Tiger Trap moved to Glasgow and tried to sound like Lesley Gore but somehow fucked that up thus creating a template for Noonday Underground, then left the tape in the snow for a week, it might sound like this. Then again, a little bit of this goes a long long way.
Youthlarge Brought These Home
Brendan Benson - Lapalco, 2002
I've heard about this dude for awhile but didn't really know any of his stuff other than that one song that I think was in a commercial? I wasn't expecting much yet was still somehow very disappointed. This guy sucks. His lyrics are beyond terrible. His vocal delivery is grating and his melodies are merely average. It's like he decided to try to do a Fountains of Wayne album but in a really really boring style. Plus, I've heard that he's not the most pleasant chap to be around.
He just looks like an ass, doesn't he?
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones, 2006
Am I a snob for shutting this CD off before it even reached Track 3 or am I just smart?
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Elan Vital, 2006
Am I a snob for shutting this CD off before it even reached Track 4 or am I just smart? This band reminds me of Velocity Girl trying to sound like Mary's Danish. Not a good combo.
Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat, 2006
I dig this. After blowing off Rilo Kiley for too long, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake on this one. Kind of like a less haunting and more direct version of Neko Case. The songs pick up steam when they need to and breathe when they need to. Damn, I sound like I’m writing for Spin or something. Songs about God and sinners and all that good stuff. My only complaint is that the “Handle With Care” cover should have been the last track. I find myself skipping it on the iPod everytime.
Skip Bifferty - The Story of Skip Bifferty, 1968
This comp of this obscure 60's band features pretty much everything they ever did - they only had one proper album released in 1968. Piano silliness, 60's catchiness, lyrical early Bowieishness.
Robert Pollard - From a Compound Eye, 2006
Stereolab - Fab Four Suture, 2006
Pollard is like Stereolab to me. They just keep putting out records that I wouldn’t buy but Youthlarge comes home with them so I listen to them. Whereas Stereolab usually leaves me scratching my head and wondering why they are still putting out records, I usually end up digging it. Somehow within their structure and their grooves, I get won over. But for some reason, I’m almost the exact opposite with Pollard’s output. Almost everytime I really like it the first time I hear it but then get way too worn down after a few listens.
From a Compound Eye is no different. 26 songs! What? As always, the recent Pollard stuff strikes me as having a few really good songs, a few okay songs, and a lot of filler. He should stop putting out LP’s and do a song of the week on iTunes each week or something. Do I just expect more from him than Stereolab? Is Stereolab better? Is Chris Larry right that I am harsher on stuff that I’m more familiar with and Pollard’s influences are much more dear to me than Stereolab’s are? I just don’t know but I do know that 26 new Robert Pollard songs in one sitting is too much for me.
The Stereolab CD is a comp of recent singles. And I really like it - more so than their last few records. Then again, I don't think I can name the title of one Stereolab song since 1996 so I don't know. Once again, it all just sort of blends together into one pleasant memory.
Ray Davies - Other People’s Lives. 2006
This is what Ray thinks is good these days? The songs are either just okay and pretty boring or really bad and long. It sounds like a bad John Wesley Harding cover band trying to do songs in the Ray Davies style. Very disappointing.
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, 2006
The big hype of the year! I'm so tempted to put this on Listmaker 3 just to raise the ire of everyone out there. But my short-lived digging of this band will undoubtedly have abated by then. By no means is this a GREAT record. But I can kind of see the hype. They play their guitars loud and fast and it is fun. His accent sounds great. And I like his lyrics. Pretty astute and interesting in my estimation. I'm not saying that "There's only music so that there's new ringtones" is up there with "And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel" or anything like that but I do appreciate the sentiment.
I read one review that said that they are the kind of band that make average songs sound good and good songs sound great. I'd say that they are pretty much firmly in the former. Still, there is promise here. These kids are only 19. Some people have compared this band to the Strokes but I don't really see it. The Strokes always sounds like they are about to fall asleep. This band is energetic. I just wish that some of the love heaped on this band had landed on The Exploding Hearts a few years back - a much better band of youngsters mining similar influences.
If you haven't watched The Four Stages of the Arctic Monkeys, you should. Plus, it features my boy Pat Kiernan.
Actually Purchased by Me
Bobby Bland - Greatest Hits, Volume One - The Duke Recordings, 1957-1969
Bobby Blue Bland! Bland is one of the greats that I somehow have missed out on - until now. A few months ago, I heard some of this at a party at Chris and Mary's. I immediately fell in love with it and had to have some. Within a few days, I had ordered this CD. Not one misstep here. Plus everytime I listen to "I Pity the Fool," I crack myself up.
Love is All - Nine Times That Same Song, 2006
I had high expectations for this CD so maybe that explains why I was disappointed. It isn’t bad but it doesn’t blow me away in the way that I thought it would based on what I had heard. Sort of a Slits/X Ray Spex Swedish kind of thing going on. Some sax, some sweet singing. All in all, pretty good but nothing earthshattering. Apparently, they are amazing live so maybe I’m missing out on the whole picture, having never seen them live.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Dap-Dippin With ..., 2002
A couple months back I went through a big Sharon Jones obsession. Youthlarge, Dave, Jen, and I saw her and the Dap-Kings tear BAM up opening for Morris Day and the Time. It is hard to believe sometimes that this is modern music and not from the 60's. This is one of those records that almost make me get up and dance when I put it on. Almost.
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, 2006
Another stellar outing by Ms. Case. While not as haunting as Blacklisted or as varied as The Tigers Have Spoken, this album still delivers the goods. I dig the strings on some of the songs. I do agree with Chris Larry’s sentiment that it would be nice if she had a little more energy on some of her songs. His complaint is that all of her songs on this record are the same tempo. He liked The Tigers Have Spoken so much because she had some real barnburners on there. While I completely disagree with this sentiment about Blacklisted, I do see his point on this one. However, I’m such a sucker for anything she does that I’m more than okay with this record.
Thai Beat A Go-Go Volume 1, 2004
As previously stated in an earlier entry, this might be the best CD ever released in the history of mankind. I may be exaggerating slightly but if you hear this once, there is no turning back. For fans of the Korean rock on Youthlarge's and my Wedding CD, this is a must have. I must buy others in this series.
Due to the Vietnam War, Thailand began to get a crash course history lesson in rock and roll. They wasted no time in learning how to kick ass. No pretense here, just all around fun. A lot of these bands would make Joe Meek green with envy and the Nuggets set collectively come in their pants. All around exuberance and love for the rock and roll are all that is needed to create a whole scene from scratch and holy shit, this is where it's at.
Borrowed and Burned
The Everly Brothers - Roots, 1968
I had been meaning to borrow this from Stone Groove for awhile but it took me until hearing it on vinyl at Dave and Jen’s during the West Coast baseball trip that borrowing it became a must. What’s not to like about the Everlys? Angelic harmonies and heartwarming melodies. By ‘68, their popularity had pretty much disappeared. Their early 60’s wholesomeness didn’t really play so well by that point. So they decided it was time to record an album of old time songs as well as new songs that fit well - the sound they had grown up with playing with their family. The result is this great record and a reminder that no matter how many "Paul is Dead" rumors floating around out there, the Everlys are always relevant.
Animal Collective - Feels, 2005
There’s some crazy good stuff on this record. As this band continues on, they keep getting poppier yet almost seem stranger because of their seeming poppiness. Not sure if that makes any sense. Their last LP Sung Tongs set the indie folk denizens into overdrive. This one is a nice little record after the dust has cleared. Perhaps their Yoshimi to their previous Soft Bulletin? Or perhaps I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Waylon Jennings - Lonesome, On'ry, and Mean, 1973
I feel honored to have been born in the same year that this record came out. This one of those records that I will not be sick of thirty years from now. It is one of those records that makes me realize that no matter how much music I have floating around in my head, there needs to be more! This record floors me. From the title track on, I was hooked the first time I heard this LP. I can't even go on any longer because my words can not do this album justice.
Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll, 2005
A birthday gift from Little Sister. So snide, so name dropping in order to make fun of name droppers. Dripping with irony in “We really are sincere” kind of way. There are some great tracks on here and some painfully bad ones. Overall though, I feel like this CD fits the zeitgeist well if that makes any fucking sense. The director of my school came in and heard me playing this and immediately burned it. His 3 year-old daughter loves it and keeps asking for the “little brother rock and roll” song. Now that she has a brand new baby brother, her love for this song will only continue to grow. I was listening to this recently and Youthlarge derided me for liking such crap.
Paul Collins - Paul Collins' Beat, 1979 and 1982
My dad ended up getting two copies of this record in some sort of CD Club snafu so he gave me one. This CD compiles the 1979 LP The Beat complete with the classic "Rock n Roll Girl" with Collins' 1982 solo record The Kids Are the Same. I was already familiar with the Beat record. The solo LP is okay, some good songs but nothing along the lines of The Beat. Although the title track of the solo record deserved to be blasted from car radios during those halcyon summer days of '82 or at the very least should have made it onto the soundtrack of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
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