Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Belle and Sebastian - Live 2015 (Concert Live, 2015)

Belle and Sebastian
Live 2015
Concert Live

Rating: <insert photo of baby duck here>

Belle and Sebastian released a live album via their website recently (CD only, cross your fingers for an eventual vinyl release), and being that I love all things B&S I had to acquire it via the internets.  It was recorded at SECC Hydro in Glasgow, and they did it with the help of the Scottish Festival Orchestra.  The set list is damn near impeccable and does a great job of hitting highlights from across their career...shit, look it up if you don't believe me.  The epic medley of "Boy with the Arab Strap" and "Legal Man" followed by "Sleep the Clock Around" are worth the price of admission alone.  The whole thing clocks in at about an hour and fifty minutes long, and I have no idea why they decided to span that over three discs, but they did.  I would say that any fan of the band needs to hunt this down, but knowing their fanbase they already have. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jeff the Brotherhood - Wasted on the Dream (Infinity Cat, 2015)

Jeff the Brotherhood
Wasted on the Dream
Infinity Cat

Rating: 7.5 sneezing dogs out of 10

I thought it odd that Jeff the Brotherhood had signed with major label Warner Bros. in the first place before their previous record "Hypnotic Nights," and it was no huge shock that the label dropped them right before the band released "Wasted on the Dream."  Based on their reaction after getting dropped, JtB seemed more than ecstatic being able to release their music on their own imprint again, so it seems like it all works out in the end.  The band has pop hooks, and you can sorta see why a major might think they can mold these kids into some version of stoner rock Weezer, but anyone who has seen them live or listened to their older material isn't surprised this didn't work out.  JtB seem like the types to do exactly what they want to do, no matter how much money they have behind them.  

That said, there was definitely loot involved in this record, as it was finished before they got the boot - the production is through the roof.  I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call it over-produced, but it's just an ass hair away from it.  I'd love to hear the original rough masters of these tracks.  They got Ian Anderson to play flute on the second song "Black Cherry Pie" - yes, that Ian Anderson, from Jethro Tull - it's such a weird decision, it kinda works.  You hear songs like "Cosmic Visions," "Coat Check Girl," and "Prairie Song" and you start thinking these guys actually have a shot at radio airplay if the right pockets got lined with cash (aka why they got signed to a major in the first place), but I'm pretty sure that is out the door now.  And I'm not sure the band don't even need that much money to buy cut-off jean shorts at the thrift store and drink crappy beer. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Lees of Memory - Sisyphus Says (SideOneDummy, 2014)

The Lees of Memory
Sisyphus Says

Rating: 7.5 dental flossers out of 10

If you ever wondered what it would be like if Superdrag sounded more like My Bloody Valentine, you're old like me.  Also, you're in luck - two of the members of the Drag (including singer John Davis) have a new act called the Lees of Memory.  I've actually had this sitting on my computer for a while, reluctant for some reason to listen to it; a foolish move on my part (I'm good for a few of these every day).  Bands that rise from the ashes of your favorites can often be disappointing, but that definitely isn't the case here.  And that shouldn't really be a surprise - with Davis' voice, anything they put out is just going to sound like Superdrag, the only difference here is the addition of extra swirly/distorted guitar parts on some of the songs.  My favorite track after the first few listens is "Not a Second More," which to be totally frank sounds exactly like a Superdrag song that would have been on their classic record "Regretfully Yours."  Not complaining about that at all. 

Fugazi - Furniture 7'' (Dischord, 2001)

Furniture 7''

Rating: 9 broken sandals out of 10

I always assumed this Fugazi seven inch was the result of too many songs for their album "The Argument," but if this is true god knows how they decide which songs go where - certainly all three songs on this short player are worthy of a full-length album.  I'd love to be able to listen to these songs more easily than busting out this seven inch every time, and I'm too cheap to buy the songs again as digital downloads from the Dischord site.  Anyways, like everything the band has recorded, this is well worth having. 

Electro Group - Lifter 7'' (Omnibus, 1999)

Electro Group
Lifter 7''

Rating: 6.5 mighty beds out of 10

Like most people, when I think of shoegaze I think of Sacramento, from where Electro Group hail.  Jokes aside, they do a pleasant enough job running through a couple of tracks in this well worn style.  This single might be 16 years old, but given the recent resurgence in this genre you could easily think this is a modern release.  Apparently these kids are still out there playing gigs and writing new music based on their Facebook page, and good on them...I saw them once or twice in the early oughts and they were a good time.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Spray Paint - Punter on a Barge (Homeless, 2015)

Spray Paint
Punter on a Barge

Rating: 7 fat reds out of 10

I saw Spray Paint live a couple of years ago and left thinking they sounded a whole shitload like the Intelligence - kind of an angular, repetitive, post-punk thing going on, with the vocals barked or chanted more than actually being sung.  On their new record "Punters on a Barge," they sound more like...well, goddammit, I still think they sound a whole shitload like the Intelligence.  Not that that's a bad thing, because the Intelligence are radical.   And it doesn't feel like they're trying to rip-off the Intelligence either, more like they're just two bands who are driving in the same direction independent of each other.  Hell, you could probably throw Tyvek into this same party most of the time, and I love all of those bands. 

The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (Fat Cat, 2014)

The Twilight Sad
Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave
Fat Cat

Rating: 7 invisible nets out of 10

Is it weird that a big part of the reason I like the Twilight Sad so much is because the singer's Scottish accent is as strong as it is even when he's singing?  The same was true with Arab Strap.  No idea why I find that so fascinating and/or appealing, but I do.  I would be hard pressed to spot many differences between all of the records these cats have put out, but I do know pretty much every time I hear their take on morose, dynamic indie pop I always enjoy it, or as much as you can enjoy music that feels so depressing.  Somehow they actually sound like the weather of Northern Britain, if that makes sense.  It probably doesn't.  This record does sound a little more "eighties" for a lack of a more succinct term, and not nearly as heavy on the quiet/loud/quiet crutch as their earlier material.  Are they just maturing as song writers?  I dunno, but it still sounds good, and it's not all that different really.  I doubt any long-time fans heard this and got mad.