sábado, abril 30, 2005

291. White Stripes - elephant

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The dynamic red and white duo are back starting off with 'Seven Nation Army' a foot stomping, hypnotizing track - which I believe features bass on it as well, a first for the band. The album is good, but not as charming as 'white blood cells' - the songs are entertaining, they just don't seem as important. There are some interesting moments like the opening to 'There's no home for you here' and the serve and return of 'The hardest button to button' but the rest seems like a watered down version of WBC.

7.5 out of 10

290. White Stripes - dead leaves and the dirty ground

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Contains the title track plus 'suzy lee' and 'stop breaking down', recorded live on BBC's radio 1 sessions. 'Stop breaking down' is a Robert Johnson tune. Being a mild blues fan (I love blues, just need to invest a lot of time into it to get truly acquainted) I feel like I've heard everyone in the world play a Johnson cover at some point; Jack and Meg don't stray too far from the original but play it with great sincerity and enthusiasm - which is the most important thing you could ask of anyone covering a Johnson track.

6.5 out of 10

sexta-feira, abril 29, 2005

289. White Stripes - white blood cells

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Here is another band I used to talk trash about, and now i am giving them a nine out of ten. I always felt that the songs could have used a bass player or extra guitarist (or both) - that the arrangements were too simplistic and that the hype was unwarranted. Then I realized that this was a neo blues album made by a boy and a girl who only wear red and white. Once I listened to it with that in mind it all made sense. 'White Blood Cells' is a pulp fictionized western design project made to be experienced as a whole, straight, from beginning to end. Listen below and that may make sense.
Offend in every way

9 out of 10

288. The Strokes - room on fire

originally uploaded by jrd550.
You can imagine how upset I was when I found myself really enjoying 'What Ever Happened?'. Chad put it on an end of year mix and I got sucked into the catchy riffs, tight production and the band's new found pop sensibilities (I swear it wasn't there before). The band finally delivers something original - building on a particular sound as opposed to just repeating it. The vocals are less strained and distant - instead they've become more confident and sincere. The production has also been taken up a notch, with drum intros and outros chopped into place and solos played to a 't' but still somewhat charismatically sloppy. I hope some day they release the Godrich sessions.

"So many fish there in the sea
I wanted you, you wanted me"

9 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 27, 2005

287. The Strokes - last nite

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Before the story below this was the only Strokes CD I had. I got it for $1.99 at HMV. The two live tracks 'Last Nite' and 'Take it or Leave it' are performed to a 't' and the 'new' track turns out to be the real winner on here. Finally these guys start to let some of their own personality come through and explore a little, going to an unexpected place (I said unexpected, not exceptional).
When it started

6 out of 10

286. The Strokes - is this it

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I resisted the strokes for a long time. For two reasons: Last Night isn't that great of a song - it's actually average - nothing new or revealing. The second is that I can't really stand hipsters; all skinny legged with the same hair do's, smelling like shit when you are at Other Music, completely unaware their long dirty scarf is draped over the section of cds you are looking at. But I was at Bleeker Street records and Dena, always, wait, sometimes sound, said "If you're ever going to buy a Strokes CD it might as well be used with the European cover art". Finally someone who thinks the way I do. So I picked it up and I wasn't thrilled. The staticky/megaphone vocals annoy me and the band's sound seems to honour an era or sound instead of building upon it. I truly was left saying "is this it?".

5.5 out of 10

NYC garage rock

I know it is a sucky title for a genre, and what is garage rock anyway? Especially in New York where there are just multi floor parking garages. Well the bands in this category either hail from New York City (or currently reside here), or sound like a great bar band (the kind of bar where the bathroom has an old school relic of an urinal, the floor is always sticky, and it is located in some sort of 'village') - or both.

terça-feira, abril 26, 2005

285. Les Savy Fav - inches

originally uploaded by jrd550.
LSF recorded several 7 inches over an extensive period of time and they have all been gathered here for this release. It's interesting to hear the band evolve over time and to hear different versions of the final tracks that made it onto the albums. The only down side to this is that it all seems like too much, 18 tracks (granted not all songs). The first pressing came with a bonus dvd featuring live footage of the band, and it was both great and scary to see the vocalist Tim Harrington.

8 out of 10

284. Les Savy Fav - go forth

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I first heard 'no sleeves' off of a sampler and I was hooked. You know the feeling of when you hear a track and you immediately get goosebumps, or imagine yourself playing it. As cheesy as that sounds, it happens (with any luck) often to me. But being as frugal as I am, I had to wait until I found the cd used before getting it - thankfully in NY if you look often everything turns up. I love this disc. If there is a band that encompasses 'art punk' it's LSF. They are unpredictable and catchy - I know this album will only grow on me over time.
No Sleeves

9 out of 10

domingo, abril 24, 2005

283. Malachi Constant - infinite justice

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I immediately got hooked on the track below when I heard it on another mp3 blog. These guys are out of St.Paul, an area of which I know nothing about - I had to order the disc from Electric Fetus, a record store in Minneapolis if i ever could afford it I'd like to go on an indie record store tour). Anyway, this is a very, very promising band, who if they get their formula right they could be brilliant. Their instincts are dead on but unfortunately the majority of songs on 'infinite justice' seem like incomplete thoughts - but they truly seem to be on their way to recording something great... so stay tuned.
Saigon Kick
6.5 out of 10

sábado, abril 23, 2005

282. Despistado - the emergency response

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Despistado signaled the promise of a return to form for Jade Tree. The band released this ep and entered the studio to record their follow up only to break up before it even got released. That album can be downloaded on itunes and the JT site. Despistado doesn't have a unique sound - they are part emo and part punk - but unlike many other emo bands of late, they were able to combine the two in an exciting way. The fact that this is an ep also helps sell the listener on this - meeting someone for half an hour can be a lot better than spending the day with them.
Hi Fi Stereo
7 out of 10

quinta-feira, abril 21, 2005

281. Detachment Kit - of this blood

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I picked this up on the strength of an earlier single that appeared on Chad's mix and the fact that they are on the French Kiss label. The disc starts off so promising and ends up trailing off into a half hearted dribble - like when you have the first drink for the night and all is heightened and special but by the time you are on your fifth thoughts aren't coming out completely, reactions are delayed and detail gets lost in detail. Still it is interesting enough for me to hold onto and look forward to what comes out next.
6 out of 10

280. The Jealous Sound - kill them with kindness

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I am a fairly jealous guy - so I was instantly attracted to this band's name. What does jealousy sound like? Not like this. The band is the latest project from ex-Knapsack singer/guitarist Blair Shehan. The only thing I know about Knapsack was that Doug bought an album of theirs at Best Buy in Florida one day. Doug is a member of the inner circle and has mysteriously disappeared - please let me know if you have any information on Doug King. Anyway, the band's sound is emoish and punkish and at times just sort of gay - but in a queer sort of way, almost like a bad eighties chorus. But it all seems to work, like an ever so slightly edgier Foo Fighters. If I posted the track 'Anxious Arms' you'd know exactly what I am talking about. Instead though I am posting the track below since it has so many great memories smacked onto it.

"If you ever had a doubt, Kiss me on the mouth"
hope for us
6.5 out of 10

terça-feira, abril 19, 2005

279. Mars Volta - frances the mute

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This cd is still so fresh on my mind that my opinion of it may change in the future. Based on a diary the band's keyboardest found (who by the way is dead now), the album is broken down into five tracks, and within those a series 'sub' tracks. Breaking the tracks down doesn't make the album any easier to digest, which I am fine with because it is good to be challenged. Jazz, salsa, prog, elctro ambient and solid riff rock all find a home on Frances. I am not sure if Rubin produced this as well but my only complaint is that it does feel like a collection of diffferent sounds rather than a whole piece like 'de-loused'. Still I feel like I am talking way too soon about this album.

8 out of 10

segunda-feira, abril 18, 2005

278. Mars Volta - live

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I told Chad once 'how the hell do they remember how to play this shit live ?' I found this at Sonic Boom records store in Seattle, and haven't really seen it anywhere else, physically or online. It has 4 tracks and is over 40 minutes in length. The band does remember how to play the tracks live and very well.
8 out of 10

sábado, abril 16, 2005

277. Mars Volta - de-loused in the comatorium

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Brilliant. One of a kind. I don't know why people are labeling this record as prog metal - sure it does have some Yes era prog in there, along with Santana, jazz, funk, Stevie Wonder and anything/everything else Omar and Cedric could think of. Rubin's production just makes this into one big epic fuck - with even the quietest moments amped up to amazing detail. It took me about 20 listens, with headphones and without, to digest all of it. I also swear that I can hear every lick John Frucsiante plays. A classic, that will only get better and better with time.

10 out of 10

276. Mars Volta - tremulant

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A three track disc which came out about a year before the full length. I never picked up any of the de facto stuff and I remember not being sure if this was their full time band or if de facto was. Of course I wasn't prepared for this sound and these tracks are tame compared to 'de-loused'. The songs aren't as epic or layered - the only thing missing from this was Rick Rubin's production.

7 out of 10

275. Sparta - live at la zona rosa 3.19.04

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I got this for free at Kim's on Astor, and I am not one to pass up a free cd. It was recorded by Mountain Dew at a show to promote Porcelain I think. There are 6 tracks and the quality is pretty good - but the audience sound retarded, chanting 'sparta! sparta! sparta! sparta!', and the songs aren't too great to begin with. But it was free...

5.5 out of 10

274. Sparta - wiretap scars

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Sparta put out solid emo, but nothing else. For once you can clearly tell how ATDI was a sum of its parts when you listen to these guys and Mars Volta. The biggest problem is that once you've heard ATDI you can't just settle for this. The songs are decent but somewhat over produced and at times lifeless. If this full length had the grittier vibe from the ep it would be a better release.

6.5 out of 10

273. Sparta - austere

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The only possible upside of ATDI breaking up is that we would get two great bands out of it. Well we got one and Sparta wasn't it. I remember reading an article where the vocalist said 'Sparta is more melodic than ATDI - less ape shit'. What obviously made ATDI so great was the 'ape shit' factor. Still I was optimistic about this release, the tracks are pretty solid, not necessarily cookie cutter and better than a lot of other emoish crap that was out there. This version of "mye" is different from what appears on the full length.

6.5 out of 10

272. At The Drive In - invalid litter dept.

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This is the Australian version with the b-sides from the two part single released here in the U.S. Contains live versions of Initiation, Quarantined, Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk and Metronome Arthritis from Steve Lamacq's show. The live tracks are surprisingly good, never having been able to see them live I always wondered to what extent their studio sound could be reproduced. These versions are pretty faithful and vary very little but have the added energy of a live performance.

7 out of 10

sexta-feira, abril 15, 2005

271. At The Drive In - rolodex propaganda

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Single off of ROC, plus 'Extracurricular' that was on the Sunshine split ep and One Armed Scissor recorded on Lamacq's show. Solid live performance.

4 out of 10.

270. At The Drive In - relationship of command

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I had a dream last night where I was having dinner at my school's cafeteria in Rio and I was sitting with six other 'me's', all from different emotionally high moments of my life. The cafeteria was full, my friends were there, the food was the same and this is what it sounded like. A great, brilliant album.

10 out of 10

269. At The Drive In - sunshine/ATDI split

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A pointless split cd with the band Sunshine whose tracks start off promising but end up as a flat electronic mess. There are two ATDI tracks, 'Extracurricular' and 'Autorelocator'. The first (which has been made available on other ATDI releases) is a great standard ATDI track if there is such a thing - the second is more of an outtake, almost completely instrumental and electronic. The packaging is interesting but with the announcement of a b-sides/rarities compilation from Fearless coming out (titled 'This Station is Non-Operational' - I can't even say the title, only sing it) I may trade it in down the road.

4 out of 10

quinta-feira, abril 14, 2005

268. At The Drive In - vaya

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This is when the band started to 'fuck shit up', for the lack of a better term. They go from being interesting to grounbreaking, much like Radiohead did. This was just the tip of the iceberg too.
9 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 13, 2005

267. At The Drive In - in/casino/out

originally uploaded by jrd550.
It had been so long since I heard this that I had to play it five times to get my head around it. In/Casino/Out is a great transitional album for the band - it sits perfectly between El Gran Orgo/Acrobatic Tenement and Vaya/ROC. The disc doesn't lend itself exclusively to one or the other, but instead has it's own tone. Melodic and somber.

8.5 out of 10

terça-feira, abril 12, 2005

266. At The Drive In - acrobatic tenement

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This full length expands on what 'El Gran Orgo' started, but with the band beginning to push beyond traditional punk and emo. The production and sound quality is somewhat poor but it was recorded in 96 on a true indie budget, and I think it ends up adding a certain level of cred and charm to the record.

7.5 out of 10

265. At The Drive In - el gran orgo

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I remember finding this on my first visit to Other Music here in NYC, I thought I had stumbled onto the greatest of hidden treasures (much like when I found a copy of Criterion's Silence of the Lambs). Of course it ended up being reissued and released years later, nevertheless this is a great intro to the band - you can clearly see how they are shaping their own brand of emo/punk - the lyrics are simple and so are the hooks.

7 out of 10

264. Cursive - the ugly organ

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I was really looking forward to this disc, so I was implicitly setting my self up for a let down. The great moments aren't enough to outweigh the dull ones. The tracks at times sound muddled and rushed instead of clear and precise like Domestica. My main problem is with the cello - I like the sound but I don't think it needs to be incorporated into every single song - it's overkill. With that said it is still a strong album with great moments and beautiful lyrics - I'll take a 'let down' from Cursive any day.

"you're in my web now - I've come to wrap you up tight 'til it's time to bite down."

8 out of 10

segunda-feira, abril 11, 2005

263. Cursive/Eastern Youth - eight teeth to eat you

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This is a split with the Japanese band 'Eastern Youth' - four tracks for each. The Cursive songs are solid - if those had been added to the 'Burst and Bloom' ep it would have been a monumental album. What really surprised me though was how good Eastern Youth was - since my only exposure to Japanese music was Pizzacato Five and Cibo Matto, I didn't think I could take the vocalist seriously, I assumed it would have a generic anime/game show vibe - but the songs are great, poppy and heavy at times, almost like an angrier Get Up Kids.

7.5 out of 10

262. Cursive - burst and bloom

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Meadows had already played 'domestica' for me but for some reason I didn't really take notice, and much later on I ended up picking this up first during one of my visits to NYC. The first track was absolutely brilliant and moving (not in a spiritual way, more in a jumping up and down sort of way). The ep is supposed to act as a 'hold me over' for 'Ugly Organ', but really it is just a few songs short of being its own great album.

'I write these words with a motherly intuition,
I shape these sounds into harmonic apparitions'
sink to the beat
8.5 out of 10

quinta-feira, abril 07, 2005

261. Cursive - cursive's domestica

originally uploaded by jrd550.
And so the tale of another failed relationship begins; 'Cursive's domestica'. Talk about cathartic. You are listening to it all, in the thick of it, until you're yelling 'break the fuck up' or stop the cd - but you can't because the riffs are beautifully brutal, the vocals are yelled and laced in spit, they are so honest. Plus you want to hear how it ends. I know, I'm giving 9's out like they are nothing, but finally I am getting into the really good stuff. Oh, and thanks for this Meadows.
the lament of pretty baby
9.5 out of 10

260. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - source tags and codes

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I remember being in love with the band's name and very impressed with the album. I still feel the same way. I am not sure what is missing from this record that would make it a 10 - what's keeping it down is what makes the albums so strong - great production, not sticking to a particular genre all the time, strings, different vocal styles littered throughout. Despite all the different storytelling that takes place, it ends up making a great, solid 'read' that you just have to give credit to. I used to listen to this on my discman right when I moved here, freelancing at BW and living in NJ - when everything seem fucked up with no end in site. Also for some odd reason, I have no desire to go out and pick up the new record.
it was there that I saw you
9 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 06, 2005

now serving: art punk

What is art punk? Well to an extent it is a bullshit term that I adopted to categorize a bunch of bands that I wasn't sure where to place within my collection. Punk is such a difficult thing to define. It can be a particular sound, a DIY attitude, a label you're on. For example to many, Green Day is punk, but I really consider them to be more pop. Nirvana can be considered punk but I feel they really belong in grunge. Ani DiFranco does everything by herself but she is definitely not punk. My buddy Chad is an authority on Punk but even he shocked me by claiming that Sublime was a punk band (ska right?). A band like Les Savy Fav really captures what I think 'art punk' is - almost a manic collage of punk sounds that sound like something new but feel like old school punk. I am making these categories up as I go along (well actually I have already figured the categories out and organized the appropriate bands within them), so certain bands may seem misplaced, and down the road some may belong in here - but who really cares.

259. The Fire Theft - the fire theft

originally uploaded by jrd550.
a regrouped sunny day minus Daniel, who supposedly was the 'gatekeeper/guru' of what SDRE was all about thus forcing Jeremy to come up with another name for the band (he said himself 'keeping the name wouldn't be fair, SDRE was Daniel's vision'). As a close friend once put it 'the songs are so songy'. What she means I think is that the tracks are becoming more individual, not necessarily part of a greater whole - sure some ambient soundscapes do link some tracks together, but unlike SDRE's albums these songs can easily live alone (which doesn't mean they are stronger). Though they have been together for a while I think that this new formation is still finding itself musically. And thanks for the autographed copy Chad/Natalie.

7.5 out of 10

258. Jeremy Enigk - return of the frog queen

originally uploaded by jrd550.
In the pre internet days the story was that Jeremy had locked himself into a room for two weeks, quit the band and became a born again Christian. I am not too sure what the real story is, but the rhythm section went to Foo Fighters and we were given this. An odd but elegant album.

7.5 out of 10

257. Sunny Day Real Estate - the rising tide

originally uploaded by jrd550.
The band takes a noticeable step forward. I feel that LP2 and 'How it feels to be something on' sound very similar at times - where this is almost more experimental, but above everything else so beautifully optimistic. I remember reading how the band had become all prog and Genisis/Yes/Rush like. I don't think such comparisions would really be a bad thing, but they just aren't right. The arrangements may come off as being a bit more intricate but they still know their sound. There couldn't have been a better opening track for this record (listen below). I'm not sure whether it was their intention to break up after this album, but it's a great goodbye and segue way into 'the fire theft'.
killed by an angel
9 out of 10

256. Sunny Day Real Estate - live

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I always wanted this despite the rumors I heard about sound quality. And the quality is sort of crappy. It seems like the record was an after thought, a way to fulfill a contract maybe. None of the instruments stand apart from one another, you always feel like it should be clearer or louder. Still it is nice to have some sort recorded testament of this band live - though it doesn’t do them any justice.

7 out of 10

terça-feira, abril 05, 2005

255. Sunny Day Real Estate - how it feels to be something on

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Chad, Brad and I went to Tampa to see them for this tour - 8 hours driving round trip. The ride up was great, the ride back was interesting. Granted I was asleep for most of it, but every time I woke up I heard Chad say to Brad 'Is that a truck coming at us, I can't make out a thing'. I was also really fucked up for the show which was a shame - but I do clearly remember the opening notes of 'Pillars', where I was in relation to the stage, and then getting lost in the air of it all. It was great to have one of our favourite bands back together - and back with a great album.

8.5 out of 10

254. Sunny Day Real Estate - lp 2

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Meadows, Doug and I were in Spec's one day, and there it was; unannounced, quietly sitting on the shelf. I love this disc. It's difficult to like one sunny day album over another - I was less depressed when this came out I guess. For some reason I think it came out during the summer (then again it was always summer in Florida), but it's more optimistic and dynamic than 'Diary'. Many think that SDRE started emo, but really they were far beyond anything emo ever produced. '8' is by far my favourite. 'J'Nuh' is also brilliant.
9.5 out of 10

253. Sunny Day Real Estate - diary

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I used to obsessively tape live performance from 120 minutes, Letterman, Unpluggeds, etc. I have about 10 tapes worth, all about 6 hours long - I hope to weed through them and transfer it all onto dvds some day. One of the first performances I taped was (oh and the name of the series for my tapes was 'when I feel heavy metal') SDRE on 120 minutes playing 'seven' and another track. I talked Doug into taking me to Circuit City to buy this album - I knew nothing about them except for that performance. This album is so fucking good it still makes me sad.

9 out of 10

sábado, abril 02, 2005

252. Slint - ep

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Another great cover, no title to the ep (I think), nothing printed on the disc itself (like Spiderland) and two, almost completely instrumental, tracks. Both are great and my only complaint is that this was their last release and it would have been nice to get more than just this. But of course, I'll take it.

8 out of 10

251. Slint - spiderland

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I remember picking up the 'kids' soundtrack and focusing on the 'folk implosion' tracks and Chad telling me to jump straight to the end and hear a song by a band called 'Slint'. I wasn't blown away by the track, but intrigued enough to pick this album up. After repeated listens I figured out that Slint doesn't hit you over the head with their music - they gang up on you and persuade you to come over. That's the beauty of 'spiderland'; at a time when so much is a quick get they were mysteriously doing their own thing. No lyrics to the songs, no clue what the cover means, if anything, no idea where they came from or if they will be around for awhile, no idea where a song was going. That's the great thing about this record.

8.5 out of 10