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 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:
I’ve been lazy at keeping this blog up lately, and it’s not gonna stop, because this is merely a 3 SONG EP! That’s right, the returns coming at longer intervals and are still diminishing- this review can’t possibly be that long! It’s a good thing that this is one of the best EPs released in the 90s by anyone ever, except for maybe the OTHER Bedhead EP and Pavement’s “Watery, Domestic.” And with that sentence, I abandon the “blatant subjectivity” portion of my post and forge ahead to the point where I cleverly trick you into thinking you are reading something free of bias, yet I manage to persuade you to take the time to click a download link.
So, as I just said, The Dark Ages is a three song EP that totals up to a very satisfying 15 minutes. Each song, though definitely within the “traditional” Bedhead territory, has a very distinct and different focus from the other ones. The title track is unusually drum-driven and has very clear vocals- two things that didn’t appear much on any Bedhead releases until their final (next) album, Transaction de Novo. This, paired with their usual style of splitting the lead melody between three interlocking guitars, makes for an unusually cathartic experience that occasionally brings a tear to my eye, which, being as manly as I am, means a lot. This is immediately followed by “Inhume,” a song that functions as a polar opposite- barely any percussion and no vocals for an entirely atmospheric six minute build up that gets LOUDER but never really changes. Yes, that probably sounds awful in writing, but it’s really quite pleasant. Finally, we have “Any Life,” which is a (slightly) faster paced country-influenced tune, sort of a more melancholic sequel to “To the Ground,” off of their first album. There’s also a really nice slide (steel? I don’t know, I can’t really tell on this particular song) guitar thrown in right towards the end.
So, there you have it. Those last few sentences were a fucking tragedy, as I kept editing them for two weeks and never got ’em to a point with which I was pleased, so now I’m just publishing this thing because it’s been almost two months since my last one.
REMIND ME NEVER TO REVIEW A THREE SONG EP AGAIN! I hesitate to even “publish” this one, but like I said before, it’s really one of the best EPs around. You’ll thank me later after a period of anger and boredom reading that awful middle paragraph.
*Upon reading that paragraph again, it wasn’t really THAT bad, but I have been looking at it so long that it seems to have totally lost its meaning, SO YOU BE THE JUDGE! Leave me some comments- should I be ashamed? Exuberant? Proud? Indifferent? Aroused? That’s it- send me some arousing comments.
After all of those excuses, here’s the goddamn download link:
The only decent picture of this album cover I could find included the sticker that is on the front, which is a pain in the ass to remove, anyway (at least on my copy), so it must remain! At least it doesn’t say “Featuring:” and then a stream of turn-of-the-decade noise rock hits- you’ll have to reserve that for all of your Lubricated Goat albums.
Bastro is David Grubbs’ immediate post-Squirrel Bait band, and it’s treble-y as shit! Not that there is non-existent bass, but the guitar parts are all headache-inducing Big Black-inspired type stuff, SO BE PREPARED! The subject matter is a little more tasteful though, so at least you won’t get a headache and think about child-rape rings or dogs trained to bite black people the entire time- unless you like that sort of thing, I know that those subjects occupy at least 80% of my bedtime fantasies. And there you have it. This review is just an excuse for me to show up on Google searches for “child rape” and people looking for information about the film White Dog.
Honestly, the first time I listened to this, I wasn’t really impressed, so I’ll warn you- this is not an unlikely scenario upon your first listen. It’s a bit difficult to sort out differences between each song, initially, because, as I said before, the majority of them are buried in treble, which falsely makes them sound a LOT more like Big Black (as I ALSO mentioned before) than they actually do. Really, this album is quite different than that. First of all, there’s a real drummer drummin’ around the whole time! Also, Mr. Grubbs’ vocals come from the school of shouty D.C. post-hardcore, and not “snide, angry Midwest guy.” THIRDLY, after listening to the album more than once, none of the songs really sound like Big Black at all! The production just fools you (or maybe just me) into hearing similarities that aren’t there. These songs have much more variety than it appears upon a passive listen, though almost all of them are fast-paced and noisy.
So, how much variety you say? WELL- some of the song structures are pretty interesting, though not necessarily “crazy and unconventional,” there are parts with sudden tempo shifts or instruments dropping out unexpectedly, mostly in a chorus-less format. The majority of these songs just “keep going,” whether that means changing constantly, or repeating the same thing over and over in a sort of verse-verse-verse type deal. The latter songs may seem more boring on paper, but are quite enjoyable, particularly “Flesh Colored House,” which just repeats a driving riff over and over, eventually to be coupled with a noisy guitar effect that sounds like someone scratching the hologram on an amusement park novelty cup. Further examples of things that set the songs apart include: surprise swing beats!, surprise horns!, and titles that don’t really make much sense, or even seem to have anything to do with the song (“Short-Haired Robot”).
I feel like I’ve just spent a couple paragraphs describing why “Diablo Guapo isn’t really that bad even though everyone thinks it is!” which is odd, because I’m pretty sure that’s not a widely believed opinion by people that have heard it. I guess I’m just worried that you’ll download it and think every song sounds the same, because I sure did, as I have said at least three times already, but I know you aren’t me, so you may have a different opinion. We’re all different! AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT!
In short: this album won’t blow you away, but goddamn does it rock if you’re driving fast. It’s odd how the “in short” part contains an element that wasn’t even brought up in the rest of the review, but that’s cutting-edge writing for you.
To download Handsome Devil, follow this illegal link below:
Man oh man, I’ve been lazy. I have no real excuse for taking so long to update (I know you were holding your breath), except for finally and officially getting the internet along with Netflix instant play- I have to catch up on all of these acclaimed original televisions series that I’ve missed out on- mostly Two and a Half Men and Everybody Loves Raymond.
Enough with the excuses. Make It Pop is one of my faaaaaaaaves. Even though it did get reviewed a few big places (this seriously may be the only album that I’ve ever picked up after reading its review on Pitchfork years after the fact), most people I’ve talked to seem to be unfamiliar with it, which is a shame, because anyone I’ve played it for (who is into this particular kind of music) seems to think it’s great.
The Giddy Motors were all British and stuff, so they sounded exactly like the Beatles. Their singer, Gaveric de Vis, had an Andrew Falkous-y Mclusky sort of shout, and the rest of the band sounded like they were doing their best at attempting to create a follow-up Rapeman LP brimming with plentiful out-of-nowhere jazzy breaks and interludes. You may not think that sounds to much like the Beatles, but take this into consideration- if those four gentlemen had never worked with Phil Spector and hadn’t turned down that offer to time travel to 1991 Chicago, this is basically what Let It Be would have sounded like.
That whole “out-of-nowhere” time shift and/or occasional jazz influence is evident immediately, as the opener, “Magmanic,” turns from a bashing Rapeman/Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid type thing to a sudden halt and continues at a half-speed dirge when the vocals kick in, only to slowly speed up throughout the course of the song. Unexpectedly, at least to me, after this point, only about half the songs have that expected Albini treble-scrape noise-rock guitar thing going on, but the composition in all of them (except one- I’ll get to that in a bit) is brimming with that crazed/creepy/noise-rock/90s Chicago/”pigfuck”/what-have-you atmosphere.
The highlight of the “not scrape-y” songs is, by far, “Hit Cap,” which happens to be track two! What makes up for the lack of noisy guitar in this one is a really noisy free jazz-style saxophone skronkin’ and blurtin’ all over the whole damn song along with the drums that also seem to frantically be all over the place- including somewhere bongo-ish. All of this paired with some very eccentric vocal delivery make for a crazed (yeah I already said crazed once in this review), nervous-sounding, near-wreck of a song that culminates perfectly in a rather loud blast of squealing noise and yelling towards the end. Best song on the album, IMO. LOL.
Everything else falls somewhere in between, but has its own highlights, whether it be more weird vocal touches, instrumentation, or even an oddly included Fugazi-ish dub influence, as on “Cranium Crux.” The one track that deviates from all of this, which I told you I would talk about at some point, is “Venus Medallist,” which is basically just a really pretty song with strings. By itself, it’s a perfectly fine song, but it really kills the mood of the album as the next-to-last track. Other bands have done this, but managed to make their “break in the madness” song still carry some sort of weird tension in it, as to not totally distract from the mood, but this song does not work in that way. However, as I mentioned earlier, this album is one of my faaaaaaves, so apparently this isn’t that much of a strike to the quality of Make It Pop as I just made it seem. Like I said, the song itself is fine, you just have to be ready for all prior mood and atmosphere to be halted for almost five minutes towards the end of the album.
So, yes, this is pretty sweet and you should give it a shot. The Giddy Motors have one more album after this, Do Easy, that is also highly recommended, though it pretty much dumps the weird jazz thing for more streamlined songs and straight aggressiveness. Anyway, this review is getting to be a little long, and I know what you’re all saying- Make It Stop!
Download the album here, as I contemplate suicide over that last joke:
…And I’m BACK! I was pretty distracted for a while because of some surprising life-related situations, the likes of which some people reading this may or may not know about, that were taking up all of my mental energy for a few weeks. Anyway, it had been a while, so I thought, “Hey! Why not review yet another album that won’t blow your mind or anything, but is pretty enjoyable!” Then this post was born.
The Damned’s second album, Music For Pleasure, gets shit on quite a bit- even more so than their new albums which are just “ignored.” In addition to this, many friends of mine that are known to enjoy The Damned quite a bit are only vaguely familiar with this album or haven’t even heard of it. From what I’ve gathered, at the time of its release, less than a year after the classic Damned Damned Damned, it was basically written off because it happened to be produced by Nick Mason- the drummer for Pink Floyd. I’m also pretty sure that all of these horrible reviews came from people who never even bothered to listen to it.
Yes, I would be very skeptical of purchasing an album produced by a member of Pink Floyd, mostly because I hate them, but also, at the time, Pink Floyd themselves thought punk rock was pretty stupid- so how could that result in a good collaboration? It turns out that it’s actually fine, really- the only production complaint I have about the album is that the drums occasionally sound a little flat- but it’s really not that big of a deal. I’ve also read, though I’m not sure if it’s true, that the band members themselves strongly dislike this album, which makes little sense to me, as the songs are great, save several moments in “Idiot Box” where the band doesn’t sound together at all. The only other issue is that the closer, “You Know,” is one of the biggest Stooges rip-offs I’ve ever heard (complete with Funhouse sax), but if you embrace it (and like the Stooges), it’s fairly enjoyable and makes sense- Damned Damned Damned itself ended with a Stooges cover, the not-so-cleverly retitled “I Feel Alright.”
I guess I had better mention why the album is actually good, cause it sure seems like I’ve done a lot of complainin’ just now. First of all, it doesn’t really sound all that different from Damned Damned Damned, which rules, but is also why this album is not able to attain “AMAZING!” standards in my opinion, because it doesn’t do anything new. However, releasing a sort-of retread of an album as good as that first one is just fine with me! The only problem with it is that I can’t really think of any stand-out tracks off the top of my head. The band has also added a second guitarist, who in addition to original guitarist Brian James, wouldn’t even be on the next album! This new (and apparently unappreciated) guy , Lu Edmunds, doesn’t really stand out that much, save for some super catchy country-inspired lead guitar on “One Way Love,” which might be the best song on here. I guess he also does fill out the guitar lines, which makes it much easier to ignore the moments when the drums fall kind of flat, WHICH ISN’T REALLY A BIG DEAL LIKE I SAID IN THE FIRST PLACE, REMEMBER? Pay attention. Finally, another reason to check this out, which is the other thing that’s actually different from Damned Damned Damned, is the increased amount of actual melody coming from the vocal parts. Whereas that album had “Neat Neat Neat”-style searing guitar lines to carry most of the tunes, here there are actual hooks and occasional harmonies! NOT PUNK!
And because harmonies aren’t punk rock, this album sucks and this review was a joke. Go fuck yourself! I’m gonna go stand on a bridge and pretend I’m a poor, hard-living traveler and ask for spare change even though I could just ask my mom for some rent money.
Download it here, if you really like upholding the man and the system and government and showers:
There are three “eras” of Killing Joke albums- their first run of 80s albums (which did include a break-up, but it was less than a year so it doesn’t count), a 90s regrouping for two albums, and the most recent reunion starting in 2003, which resulted in their second self-titled effort being available in Circuit Cities and Best Buys across America. Why? I have no idea! Anyway, the very last album from the 80s period (which was actually 1990) and their stuff after that kind of just sounds like Ministry, with a couple of OK songs thrown in, so it’s not that great. Out of the 80s efforts, 1980’s self-titled debut is revered as the classic album- and it probably is their best- it’s all minimal and angry and weird. Then, 1985’s Night Time gets a lot of praise, particularly for including the very 80s sounding “Love Like Blood” and (surprise) “Eighties,” which were apparently (at least) minor hits, though I certainly have never heard either of them anywhere except for my own home. Between these two albums, there is no room for anyone to talk about 1983’s Fire Dances, which is sad! So, now, I’m going to laboriously highlight it as a public service.
In a surprisingly logical turn of events, Fire Dances sounds like it was made right in the middle of Killing Joke’s transition from “kinda scary pounding noise” to “smoother melodies with vocals drenched in 80s reverb” because it was! Normally, transitional albums aren’t so great because it results in 40 minutes of songs that don’t sound like they should go together, but this is not the case- they did it the correct way. Each song has elements of both sounds, so it actually sounds like one band recorded it.
The whole “homogenized, yet transitional” sound for Killing Joke results in the album having a very distinct mood, which is what makes it especially worthwhile- and no, the mood is not “Enya at a BBQ” as the cover may mistakenly cause you to assume. It still has pounding, repetitive percussion on essentially every song, but this paired with the slightly more melodious guitars and (much more so) vocals, giving a lot of the songs a celebratory feel. However, the guitar lines seem to constantly be moving throughout each song- there aren’t really a lot of “riffs”- and when it hits a lower register, often gets arpeggiated and dark/nervy, so, overall, it’s a little bit like Christmas Day minus the sleigh bells, but with the threat of a family brawl in the background. The two extremes are highlighted in the (sort of) title track, “Let’s All Go (to the Fire Dances),” which may be the best song on here (listen to that guitar line about 1:44 in!) and the perpetual tempo increase at the end of “Frenzy.”
So, if you’re too lazy to read three paragraphs, Fire Dances may not be the best Killing Joke album (it’s the 2nd best), but it’s worth your time and attention because of its mood and consistency. TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS!
Watch the sort-of-weird, sort-of-medieval, not-sure-what-the-point-of-the-video-is-but-it’s-the-album’s-only-single video for “Let’s All Go (to the Fire Dances)” on Youtube:
Download the whole durn album here: