Friday, July 18, 2014

Tortoise - Tour 1998 7'' (Thrill Jockey, 1998)

Tour 1998 7''
Thrill Jockey

Rating: 7 broken floors out of 10

This is exactly what it says - a seven inch Tortoise sold on their 1998 tour.  Two songs - "Madison Ave." and "Madison Area," both very much sounding like Tortoise of that time period.  Not only did I buy this record on that tour, I even had stuck the ticket stub in the seven inch sleeve, something I never do but sixteen years after it's pretty cool that I did it.  On white vinyl. 

Licorice / Kendra Smith / Red House Painters - Split 7'' (4AD, 1995)

Licorice / Kendra Smith / Red House Painters
Split 7''

Rating: 7 years away out of 10

Let's ignore the first two artists here because who gives a shit.  The key here is the last song, which is Red House Painters covering the Yes song "Long Distance Runaround."  The notes say "not available on the CD Ocean Beach," but it was on the double 10'' version of the record (long out of print).  It would later also be used on their album "Songs for a Blue Guitar."  You're welcome for this useless information!  Oh, and it's an awesome cover.

The Comas - You Got the Bumblebee, I Got the Stinger 7'' (Sit-N-Spin, 2001)

The Comas
You Got the Bumblebee, I Got the Stinger 7''

Rating: 6 love pretenders out of 10

The Comas were one of the few local Triangle bands that completely existed between my first stint here in the nineties and were gone by the time I moved back in 2008.  I've picked up a number of their releases over the years out of bargain bins, this picture disc included.  The band plays a slightly country-tinged version of jangly indie pop, and they manage to neither be great or awful but do have an occasional great song.  This seven inch is three songs total, with the last (and shortest) song "1:30" being the stand out and catchiest track available. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Unwound - Rat Conspiracy (Numero Group, 2014)

Rat Conspiracy
Numero Group

Rating: 9 sad dolls out of 10

Unwound was a criminally underrated noise punk band that existed in the nineties and early oughts.  They made a few of my very favorite records of all time, and one of those records is a part of this collection "Rat Conspiracy."  As stoked as I am Numero Group is reissuing these near-perfect records on vinyl, I really wish they were being done individually instead of grouped together as we have here.  "Rat Conspiracy" is actually three different releases - their first record "Fake Train," their second record "New Plastic Ideas," and a collection b-sides/demos/rarities from that era.  "New Plastic Ideas" is a must have, and while the other parts are totally great I wish I could just buy that record right away and maybe come back to the other parts later.  Honestly, this isn't one of my shitty reviews as much as it is notice that this release exists, and for me to bitch about it not being to my liking.  Here's to hoping they continue though, regardless of approach, because I need vinyl copies of "Repitition" and "Leaves Turn Inside You" in the worst way. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jimmy Eat World / Blueprint - Split 7'' (Abridged, 1996)

Jimmy Eat World / Blueprint
Split 7''

Rating: 7 transparent doctors out of 10

A double helping of mid-nineties emo.  Jimmy Eat World takes side A with a pair of songs called "Christmas Card" and "Untitled," but if memory served "Untitled" is a barely a song at all.  It's a very catchy song though, very much inline with their early sound that was poppy but not completely polished for a radio-friendly audience.  The song would even be included as a bonus track on later versions of their first full-length "Clarity."  The B side is Blueprint with "In-Between Angels," a much lesser-known band that follows the same basic recipe musically as Jimmy Eat World.  If it weren't for the vocals being a little different you'd probably assume it actually was JEW. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast (Sub Pop, 2014)

The Afghan Whigs
Do To The Beast
Sub Pop

Rating: 6.5 dull pens out of 10

For months I've put off listening to this new record by the Afghan Whigs.  I'm not entirely sure why - Greg Dulli has made plenty of great music since the Whigs' broke-up via the Twilight Singers.  They were also fantastic live on their reunion tour in the fall of 2012. Then again Frank Black did plenty of great solo work and were great on their (first) reunion tour, and look where we are with them now...

Anyways, "Do To The Beast"'s good.  Pretty good.  Not great.  Not an embarrassment to their catalog and legacy, but not likely to get the top ranking on any "greatest Afghan Whigs' records" list.  The best song for my money is "Royal Cream," but further listens may change that.  And I definitely want to listen to it more, which I suppose is the best indication that it's an enjoyable record - there is just too much out there to waste your time listening to junk.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lambchop / Hospitality - Split 7'' (Merge, 2014)

Lambchop / Hospitality
Split 7''

7.5 bowls of beans out of 10

As far as I know, this is the first of the Merge subscription seven inches that feature music that was previously recorded and available elsewhere.  The a-side is the Lambchop song "FA-Q" that first appeared on one of their very earliest releases, though this version appears to be a new (fancier) recording of the track.  And it's a great song, but then again most Lambchop songs are.  Also, bonus points that the song is a reference to "Dazed and Confused."

The b-side is "Inauguration (Super Timeline Version)" by Hospitality, one of the few Merge bands I've never paid much attention to.  The track is also featured on their most recent record "Trouble," though presumably in non-"Super Timeline Version" whatever that means.  Let's just assume it's code for "alternate take."  Regardless, it's a very catchy song, sounding a little bit like a more upbeat, modern version of Camera Obscura.  I've gotta check out that full-length by them now. 

The Honeydrippers - Sea of Love 7'' (Es Paranza, 1984)

The Honeydrippers
Sea of Love 7''
Es Paranza

Rating: 9 drunk danishes out of 10

My folks had the one EP the Honeydrippers released and I used to listen to it all the time.  White soul crooner suited Robert Plant, and it's a shame he didn't record more of this type of music.  I found it interesting that the title track here charted higher in the US than any Led Zeppelin song ever did.  It's certainly a great cover, and despite already owning the EP I was still happy to grab this 45 of the song.  The b-side "Rockin' at Midnight" is also on that EP, so this really doesn't offer anything new other than just a different release of a great song. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wye Oak / Telekinesis - Split 7'' (Merge, 2014)

Wye Oak / Telekinesis
Split 7''

Rating: 7.5 dirty hats out of 10

Another batch from the Merge subscription series has arrived, much to my great joy.  This split, on opaque blue vinyl, has Wye Oak on one side and Telekinesis on the other.  The Wye Oak song is fantastic and well worth the wax, and I think it even has guitar on it unlike most of their most recent record.  At a minimum, download this song when you get a chance.  The Telekinesis song is fine too, though not nearly as catchy as most of his material. 

The First Edition - Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) 7'' (Reprise, 1967)

The First Edition
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) 7''

Rating: 8 banged gongs out of 10

The First Edition was Kenny Roger's band from before he was the Kenny Rogers we know today.  I'm guessing a lot of people, especially the younger set, know this track from it's important placement in the classic "The Big Lebowski," and proud we are of all of them.  The band did a very radio-friendly version of psyche rock that was catchy, weird and safe all at the same time.  I dig it.  The b-side is called "Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind," and I think we can all imagine what that sounds like.