I recently realized that I would include this in my list of “favorite albums,” which is weird, because a lot of it is kind of just a joke pop album, but they’re really pretty jokes! Actually, only a handful of the songs actually seem like jokes, so don’t worry; this isn’t a Bloodhound Gang album or anything (god, how I wish it were- all I care about is swearing and tits). Anyway, if you only spend time checking out that sassy lady on the cover and the minimal artwork, you may think that this is a cold, weird, hip mail-order clothing catalog soundtrack, but it’s not that, either. So what does it sound like? Well, you’ll never know, you pathetic, needy Internet person (or most likely Facebook friend that was pressured into clicking on this link for one reason or another- thanks guys).
Oh! So I feel like this is cheating, because Air Miami is literally just Unrest with one person swapped out, and that person is not either of the singers (Mark Robinson and Bridget Cross), so it really does sound exactly like a more keyboard-y version of Perfect Teeth, which I reviewed on here a couple years ago, which is why I feel like it’s cheating and that this sentence has gone on for far too long. I guess it’s not cheating though, because this is different enough. Don’t worry too much about the “more keyboard-y” part if that frightens you, because it’s only minor flourishes, which may initially seem like a lot, considering that Perfect Teeth had zero keyboard content, but they add quite a bit to the fun and not-overly-serious atmosphere of the songs. Also, a lot of the songs have surprise/weird “adult” content or swearing on them that makes their sugary-ness kind of confusing and awesome, for example, the pretty straight-forward opener/pop-rocker “I Hate Milk,” contains a joyous chorus of, “Please, please, someone kill me soon.” Later on, the surprisingly enjoyable and bouncy should-be-throwaway, “Neely,” immediately begins with the extremely non-threateningly-sung repetition of, “Hey, hey/Hey, hey/I’m gonna fuck you up today,” but it sounds soooooooooo fun! You won’t even notice that all of the children in your car now have their minds ruined. There’s even a later part in the song about gettin’ “fucked up.” COOL!
Me. Me. Me. continues on, alternating between good-time, quick pop gems, and slower, prettier slightly-more-serious sounding fare. The first time I heard this album, I thought the slower songs were kind of boring, but then I realized that they all sound like taking a really relaxing, slow plane ride (if that’s a thing) over an ocean. I guess that’s a really specific feeling, but listen to any of the Bridget Cross sung tunes on here, and tell me I’m wrong- I dare ya- and because everyone on Earth clearly shares the same mental associations, I’ll win.
Here’s a bad transition to end things: “Dolphin Expressway” is one of the shimmery-est, prettiest songs I’ve ever heard, and it feels like getting a sunburn. “World Cup Fever” is a silly dance song that RULES! Look at all that lazy writing I just did. Pathetic.
I’m done. Download this. Look how blue that goddamn cover is!
Welcome to America’s longest awaited update! I’m sure that you’ll find the results comparable to the unlocking of Al Capone’s vault or the ending of a movie where you find out that everyone is the same person.
You may have noticed that in addition to rare updates, this blog seems to contain an overwhelming amount of Homestead Records releases. I’ve decided to include yet another one, not because of some sort of plan, but out of sheer sloppiness of choice. I’m treating this blog like I’m its crappy, dead-beat father.
The Taller You Are, The Shorter You Get is pretty much an album for huge losers (dead-beat dads? Sadly, no). Unlike that Thinking Fellers Union album I reviewed (more than a year ago!), this album isn’t very ridiculous and makes a lot of sense- ADULT SENSE. It’s filled with songs about being disappointed, moody, kind of an asshole, and pathetic- feelings that no mere teenager could experience. Man, do I want to make more dead-beat dad jokes, but the more I think about it the less I know what it really means, except that it’s probably a person that gets drunk and has a lot of fun all the time, but, unfortunately, has a dumb child. Joke’s on you- there are no regretful songs about having children on this album.
You can hear a lot of Joy Division influence on this, but with better, nerdier vocals, less reverb, and less kind-of-boring songs that you think you’re supposed to like because you’ve been told to. Part of this is likely due to the (maybe?) use of a drum machine- some of the tracks have murky production that makes it a little hard to tell if there’s a real drummer or not. It’s waaaaaaay more honest than most of that mysterious-ass post-punk stuff too! There’s a song about driving really far away after a failed relationship (“Seven Years”), a song about having more problems than friends (“Too Far Gone”), and a song that’s a mild apology for being grumpy (“The Only One”)! I guess that sounds kind of depressing, and it totally is, but it can rock pretty hard, too- see the middle riffin’ part of “Planes Crashing.” YOU WILL NEVER FEEL THIS GREAT ABOUT BEING BUMMED OUT (you might- there’s got to be some midpoint that exists between the mood swings of a manic depressive. Please comment on this!)
One of the best things about TTYATSYG (that’s what the teens call it these days) is that it’s long as shit! AND it doesn’t seem like it! AND NO TEENS ACTUALLY CALL IT THAT- THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS! The CD version is 72 minutes long, and the double vinyl has an extra song and a pretty neat intro to “World on a String” that puts it at 83 minutes. It’s a worthwhile commitment, like making a really good financial investment or driving really far out of your way to eat at a Golden Corral.
I feel like I just made a long string of crappy jokes (fishing for comments, here) and don’t have much more to say about this. It’s been a while. If you like this, though, they (meaning basically the one guy that the band is, Mark Edwards) also have a really great, less depressing, cleaner 90s album, “For Richer, For Poorer,” that definitely contains real drums. You should check that one out, too. The nice thing about this one though, is that it’s posted on the My Dad is Dead website for free!
To kill your dad, so that he may also be dead, just click this link to the page with the full (CD version) album:
I’ve been lazy as shit! I’m going to start doing this again. Just let me get out of this Holiday Inn in New Jersey, and I swear I’ll do it. Thanks in advance to all 3 of you two months from now. On a better and more productive note, that Dicks album, Kill from the Heart, that I reviewed a while back (sort of) is somehow BACK IN PRINT even though the master tapes have been lost. Buy it! http://www.alternativetentacles.com/product.php?product=1998&sd=ghzTnC5TE7aK25fC57g
I was going to review “The Taller You Are, The Shorter You Get,” by My Dad is Dead for this entry, but I just realized that I have an overwhelming amount of Homestead Records releases on here, so I decided to review a different album this time, instead. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN SECOND PLACE, THINKING FELLERS UNION LOCAL 282?????
Tangle is pretty ridiculous and kind of doesn’t make any sense, much like the other Thinking Fellers releases. They have this weird atmosphere working for them the entire time, where you can’t really tell if they’re creepy/bordering on mentally ill, drunk, or really like cartoons- and sometimes all of these moods happen at once. Also, they opened for Live on tour, one time, which is pretty weird, though it makes sense when you realize all of the fans that helped make “The Dolphin’s Cry” a hit were alcoholic mental patients that watched a lot of cartoons. However, those live fans did NOT like layers and layers of staccato-heavy riffs, but I bet YOU do, which is why you’re reading this page, not listening to Secret Samadhi, and are absolutely craving such riffs, for which the Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 is a veritable bargain outlet! Think of them, at least on this particular effort, as some sort of outsider music version of Sonic Youth- without the sass.
Most of these songs are mid-tempo and lack the limitless 30 second between-song “Feller filler” that their other albums contain, which can be grating, hilariously immature, worthless, or all three at once. Mostly grating and worthless, though. So, yeah, there’s only like THREE of those on here, and they’re barely noticeable, so if you don’t like making decisions, you won’t have to skip ’em, and you’ll never notice. Just sit there, not noticing anything and don’t ever think again. Because of those few joke snippets seeming like intros and outros, however, you get this whole feeling of this album being one big, flowing effort- like I said, a lot of the songs don’t really make any sense, layer a bunch of weird guitar parts on top of each other, and change a lot. Pair this with them all being of similar tempo, and you have that whole, false “THIS IS ONE BIG LONG FLOWING ALBUM OMG YOU GOTTA LISTEN TO THIS ALL AT ONCE OR YOU JUST WON’T GET IT” feeling you got the first time you heard Dark Side of the Moon while getting a handjob from that girl down the hall who you got all high on joints with.
Let’s face it though, in reality, it’s just a bit hard to pull out traits of individual tracks that will really draw your attention, even though there’s tons of stuff going on in each one. Different tracks have notable “that’s weird” qualities- “Sister Hell” introduces some yelling out of nowhere, making me wonder how many singers this band actually has (I have no idea, but it’s either one with about 6 weird voices, or 3 with two weird voices each), occasionally there are some horns that come in and never come back again, and “It Wasn’t Me,” opens with the amazing line, “Who are you?/You look like my dad!” and, contrary to popular belief, is not a Shaggy cover. Oh, and “Change Your Mind” has some weird part where they keep stopping the music and shouting about a flashlight stuck in someone’s chest.
After re-reading all that I’ve just written, I know that this album may seem like some sort of hellish, half-drunk nightmare, but it’s actually quite a bit of fun. But not cutesy fun, it’s still pretty creepy, but goofy. Sort of like a violent drunk making a bunch of hilarious jokes. He only got violent that one time though, a few years ago, and it hasn’t come back again, but you’re still bracing for it.
ENJOY! Also, if you correctly count the number of commas used in this post, I will personally respond to your comment asking if you are, in fact, correct, as I myself am too lazy to count, but there seem to be quite a few.
THANK your feller here, 282 times, for this download:
After insisting that everyone in 1980s Chicago did not, in fact, use the same drum machine, along comes Breaking Circus’s first EP to taint my credibility, yet again. The Roland TR-606 makes another appearance in the Midwest noise rock scene, leading me to believe that either everyone thought it sounded really sweet or was too lazy to find a reasonable drummer. Although I like the sound quite a bit when applied to those bands, it makes it a hell of a lot more difficult to not just say “sounds like Big Black!” immediately upon hearing this record. Well, I’m here to prove to you that Breaking Circus does not sound exactly like Big Black, but brings a much more melodic, yet MANLY SOUNDING (you’re relieved, right?) set of songs on The Very Long Fuse.
I say manly sounding, because this definitely has that sing-speak “I’m a steelworker, I kill what I eat” Chicago thing going on, and I hate anyone with feelings. However, there’s a little bit more than that occurring here, as evident in the second track, “(Knife in the) Marathon,” which seems to be fairly heartfelt, incorporates what seems to be an acoustic guitar, and according to the moderately deceitful Wikipedia, somewhat of a college radio hit. This is immediately followed by the atmospheric, keyboard-heavy “Lady in the Lake,” which stands out mostly due that, because the vocals are still in that manly speakin’ thing! Amazing.
These two tracks are the most extreme departures from what you would expect from an album with cover work by Steve Albini, but that’s not to say some of these mechanics aren’t worked into the other, more (Chicago) punky sounding songs. I’d like to say more, but I think I’ve said “Chicago punk” and “manly” far too many times already, but if you’re into that sort of thing, The Very Long Fuse is very (LOL) worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to BLOW YOUR MIND, unless your mind is blown by something being unexpectedly enjoyable.
SIDE NOTE: I have two full lengths on deck in my mind to review next, so my next two updates (at least) shouldn’t take eight years to be posted like this one.
Break your circus all over the place with this link:
Congratulations America, I’m pretty sure this is the most recently recorded album to be reviewed on your favorite blog, Records and Beer.
The Narrator is a band hailing from Chicago, and I’m not going to lie to you- I have no idea what the band members’ names are at this moment in time, nor am I going to take the time to look them up- and the reason I’m not going to look them up is ’cause they just sound like “dudes.” And by “dudes,” I mean that the guy singing sounds like he comes from the Tim Kinsella school of ROCK. Does the fact that they happen to be on Flameshovel Records influence him to sing a bit like Mr. Kinsella? Who knows. What I do know is that this album is totally overlooked, even though it was (shockingly) reviewed on Pitchfork and given a pretty good rating. Oh, and I like this album because it just kind of sounds like 90s rock.
So yeah, I guess because it sounds like “90s rock,” it’s not really anything groundbreaking, but goddamn did I listen to the shit out of this a couple years ago. The mood is definitely “hopeful, yet apathetic,” which is something I (and hopefully YOU) can rock and roll to. Also, I’m pretty sure I stole the part about them being apathetic from a review of this album I read somewhere else once, so please forgive me for the unoriginal thought. Anyway, back to the whole 90s rock thing. This is pretty much all guitars- bass-drums stuff, with nothing particularly standing out in the mix except some occasional out-of-nowhere vocal hooks.
There are some songs about going nowhere in life, having not really accomplished anything in life, smoking a joint with your sister, a cover of a weird Bob Dylan song from that Self Portrait album no one likes, and “Surf Jew,” which better have been a goddamn single, because it sure sounds like that’s what The Narrator was trying for, and it rules. If there is one song that I can say, “Hey, this may interest you in listening to this album,” then by Jove, that one is it. That up-and-down bass line, palm muting, raspy-vocals-in-the-chorus, “anthemic but not quite as downtrodden as the rest of the album” quality really makes it the focal point of the album. Not that the other songs are shitty, mind you, as that is immediately followed by “Panic at Puppy Beach,” which, despite the chorus sounding blatantly like early Modest Mouse, is quite good as well, and almost touching, until you realize how depressing and occasionally mean-spirited the lyrics are.
And there you have it, I can pound out an incredibly vague review in a small amount of time when I’ve had a few beers feel the need to accomplish something. Honestly, I was just listening to this really loudly while I was driving around a couple of weeks ago and felt the need to put it up here even though I don’t really have anything constructive to say about it. Also, I first heard of it from someone ELSE’S blog! How charming and appropriate. I know, this might not have been up to par, but believe me, I can’t always pump out stuff as engrossing as that “I gave you absolutely no reason to be interested in this” Alice Donut review I did last time.
Don’t let THIS unreliable narrator steer you towards a WALL- download the album here (ROFL- books):