Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Calexico, Julien Baker, and They Might Be Giants sitting in a tree.

   ---Open on a bright and cheery kitchen.  Smartly decorated.---
I listen to 3 new records.
      I give each record a score based on a random rating scale.
You pretend you care.
                                   
1 Chicago dog - What's the point?
2 Chicago dogs - Maybe
3 Chicago dogs - Now we are getting somewhere!
4 Chicago dogs - Right on!
5 Chicago dogs - Heaven is real!

Calexico "The Thread That Keeps Us" 3 Chicago dogs.  Pleasant.
Calexico is cool.  Who doesn't like their brand of acoustic guitar rock lightly seasoned with horns and percussion?  This record has some nice songs that really started grabbing at me.  Unfortunately it also has some clunkers that made me want to reach for the skip button.  I would definitely put this on at a party if I wanted some cool background music that isn't going to offend anyone.
Highlights: "End of the World With You" and "Music Box"

Julien Baker "Turn Out the Lights" 5 Chicago Dogs.  Heavenly.
The music is simple.  A piano with a big roomy sound.  An electric guitar with delay.  Julien's beautiful voice starting out quiet and easy.  Slowly building to soaring melodies.  Songs about loss.  Pain.  This record is an oddity.  It's sad and quiet but I could see it becoming a breakout radio hit.  She makes Gaga and Ke$ha sound like overblown windbags.  Think Greg Dulli meets...well...Julien Baker.  She is really something special.
Highlights: "Appointments", "Turn Out the Lights", and "Televangelist"

They Might Be Giants "I Like Fun" 3 Chicago dogs.  Fun.
I've never been a big fan.  However this record has a lot of really, well, fun songs.  But 15 songs???  Not all of them should be on this record.  Cut it down to the strongest 8 and this would have rated higher.  Smart, catchy, and upbeat rock.  Impress your professor!
Highlights: "I Left My Body" and "The Bright Side"

--Panoramic shot of our hero riding his snowblower into the sunset--

                                      ---End scene---

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New records from Dr. Demento, Jeff Rosenstock, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club!

Dear kids of 2018,

It's me.  F me.  With some new music for your ears.  Or new music your ears should stay away from.

I listen to new records.

Once through.

I give each record a simple rating.

You proceed accordingly with your life.

Today's rating scale:
1 cute diapered monkey cleaning your place - Meh.  Still dirty.
2 cute diapered monkeys cleaning your place - Better but not good.
3 cute diapered monkeys cleaning your place - Decent!
4 cute diapered monkeys cleaning your place - Where's my wallet?
5 cute diapered monkeys cleaning your place - Take my passwords and pin codes!!!

Dr. Demento "Covered In Punk" 5 cute diapered monkeys! Buy this in every available format!
Dr. Demento's radio show was a part of my childhood.  So yes, there might be a bit of nostalgia influencing my opinion of this record.  Is that really such a bad thing?  The record is set up like a Dr. Demento radio show with many "clips" of the "Doctor" introducing songs.  This makes the two discs fly by compared to most double albums.  All the demented hits are here.  "Fish Heads" as done by Osaka Popstar.  "Dead Puppies" as done by James Kochalka Superstar.  Even an amazing cover of Suicidal Tendencies' hit song "Institutionalized" as done by Brak is worth the price of admission alone.  Don't let the title of this record fool you.  These are not pop-punk covers by annoying bands from the 90's.  All kinds of rock music is here.  Los Straight Jackets, Shonen Knife, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.  Even Adam West and William Shatner.  I could go on and on but I won't.
Highlights: "Institutionalized" by Brak and all the other songs too.

Jeff Rosenstock "Post-" 3 diapered monkeys. Stream it a couple of times.
Big guitars, sing-along choruses, catchy melodies, Noise NOIse and more NOISE!  It's kind of surprising that anyone is still doing this type of music anymore.  You would think it's all been done.  In some ways you might be right.  "Post-" is cool but it doesn't really grab me as much as I hoped it would.  There's some cool moments and even a couple of songs I'll revisit but as a whole record this is only just okay.
Highlights: "All This Useless Energy" and "Beating My Head Against A Wall"

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "Wrong Creatures" 2 diapered monkeys.  Blah. Blah.
This sounds like soundtrack music to a boring movie about cool vampires at a dance club.  Reverb, delay, and smooth swagger don't necessary make a great record.  Where's the songs?  Hits?  Hooks???  This is boring.  Move along.
Highlights: "Spook" is ok.  Still not that great.

Sincerely,

-Fme



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lou Barlow, Mike Krol, and Dan Auerbach fight to the death!

Three newish records.
       One listen through each record.
Five stupid ratings.
     One more educated music listener...You!

1 Miley-free day.  Nice but not really worth much.
2 Miley-free days.  Good.  Stream it once.
3 Miley-free days.  Better.  Stream it repeatedly.
4 Miley-free days.  Very good!  Download it illegally and consider a purchase a year or two down the road.
5 Miley-free days.  Excellent!  Buy it immediately on multiple formats.

Lou Barlow "Brace the Wave" 4 Miley-free days.
This is mostly Lou B. and some acoustic instruments.  So if you're looking for the rock...move along.  The weird thing that I noticed is that Lou's voice sounds different in some of the songs.  Like he is intentionally trying to not sound like himself.  Why is that weird?  Because it works!  I think 30 some odd minutes of more Lou sounding like Lou would be too much.  The songs are personal and some bare it all.  In fact, I say that the quietest and most personal sounding songs are the best on the record.  This is definitely worth some more listens and possibly even a purchase or two.
Highlights: "Wave" and "C&E".

Mike Krol "Turkey" 3 Miley-free days.
Let me say right off the bat I am a fan of this style of music.  Straight ahead, plug the vocal mic into a guitar amp, rock and roll with attitude.  The problem with "Turkey" is i feel like this style has been done better.  That doesn't make "Turkey" a stinker.  In fact I bet that a lot of these songs are going to sound great in a live setting.  I will check out that show and then decide if I want this record.  For now I will wait.
Highlights: "Neighborhood Watch" and "Cactuses"

The Arcs "Yours, Dreamily" 2 Miley-free days.
The Arcs started as a solo project for Dan Auerbach who also is the leader of the band the Black Keys.  If you think this record is going to sound like a Black Keys record you would be correct.  It sounds exactly like the Black Keys so if they are not your kind of band then this is not your kind of record.  I'm not a huge fan so I just think, "Meh, this is okay."  The latin touches are a stretch.  Cowboy music for a fake looking B-movie Western.
Highlights: "Outta My Mind" and "Stay In My Corner"


Monday, August 3, 2015

La Luz, Ricked Wicky, and Wilco walk into the Mos Eisley Cantina...

Where have you been?  I've been not looking all over for you!  3 records.  One listen. Reviews based on first impression.  On with the record reviews:

1 Donald Trump autographed toupe- Meh.  Not worth the time.
2 Donald Trump autographed toupes- Ok but what else you got?
3 Donald Trump autographed toupes- Nice.  Now this is something to email Mom about!
4 Donald Trump autographed toupes- This is breaking new grounds! Like might turn into love!
5 Donald Trump autographed toupes- The best thing ever!  Open a store and dedicate your life to turning people on to this record!

La Luz "Weirdo Shrine" 2 Donald Trump autographed toupes.  Seriously La Luz, what else you got.
On Weirdo Shrine La Luz plays surfy, dreamy, but mostly sleepy pop songs.  Key word in that review is "sleepy".  Yes Ty Segall produced the record and that alone should help this already good band shine, right?  Not so much.  The retro, reverby sound that Ty is known for is all over this record but something is missing: the strong songs that bring me back for repeated listens are not here at first listen.  The vocals are too dreamy.  Lulling me into a sleepy state.  There are some instrumental moments that are worth a listen or two...but not many.
Highlights: "You Disappear" and "Black Hole, Weirdo Shrine".

Ricked Wicky "I Sell The Circus" 3 Donald Trump autographed toupes.
Ricked Wicky is the newest project led by Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard.  The record starts out strong with two pretty good songs, "Well Suited" and "Death Metal Kid" but then soon starts to  spin it's wheels in some mediocre tunes.  "Intellectual Types" and "Mobility" bring back some nice moments of rock but overall I was not excited after listening one time through the record.  I'll give it another chance like I do with most Pollard releases, but if my instincts are correct I will not be buying what he is selling this time.
Highlights: "Well Suited" and "Intellectual Types".

Wilco "Star Wars" 3 Donald Trump autographed toupes.
Wilco surprised everyone when they released this record as a free download.  Not only that but they called it "Star Wars" and the cover features a white cat.  This could easily be looked as a throw-away joke of a release.  Yes there are some moments that sound a little "throw-away" but overall this is a fairly strong record.  Okay, strong may not be the right word.  Let's just say there are some good songs to check out.
Highlights: "Where Do I Begin" and "Cold Slope".


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just Missed It: Tony Molina "Dissed and Dismissed"

Tony Molina is another artist I discovered through NPR's All Songs Considered Podcast.  With nods to Teenage Fanclub, Weezer, and Heavy Metal riffing, my only regret is I didn't know about this a year ago. 

Every song is too short.  "Leave them wanting more" must be Tony's motto.  "Walk Away" is the closest thing to a "normal" guitar hit on the record and at 1:24 it ends the record with one verse, one chorus, one solo...and...done.

"Don't Come Back" is my favorite on the record.  It sparkles with Indie pop shine through the first 35 seconds and at 36 seconds it morphs into a heavy instrumental rocker.

Even the short guitar "snippets" are worth a listen.  "Dissed and Dismissed" is what happens when Bob Pollard and Rivers Cuomo have a musical baby and leave him at the Alex Chilton Home For Wayward Records.  Lovely in it's ugliness.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

JUST MISSED IT (1st edition) Featuring Laura Stevenson

New feature alert!  I call it "Just missed it"!  I will be featuring records that I've recently discovered that may have been out for a while.  When I say "a while" I mean it could be a couple months to a couple of decades.  I've heard NPR's Bob Boilen say that there just is not enough time to listen to everything that is worth a listen.  This is from a guy who listens to music every day and goes to tons of live shows.  I tend to agree.

JUST MISSED IT    (1st edition)

Laura Stevenson "Wheel" (2013 Don Giovanni Records)
I first heard Laura Stevenson on NPR's podcast "All Songs Considered".  They played the amazing track "L-Dopa" and I was hooked.  For some reason I have a problem connecting with female artists (insert juvenile comment here).  They need to have something really special to grab me as a fan (insert even worse comment here).  Something in Laura's vocal delivery paired with her not-too-predictable songwriting and instrumentation has won me over.  I'm listening to the full "Wheel" record right now and right away I'm impressed.  At times grandiose and full and other times stark and solo, Stevenson has talent to spare in the songwriting department.  It also helps that she is a heck of a guitarist.  "L-Dopa" is still my favorite track on the record but there is not a clunker among the 12 others.  It also doesn't hurt that she is on tour right now with another of my favorite discoveries, the band Cheap Girls.  No stop in my town but I will definitely catch her the next time around.  Support talented artists.  Buy this record!
Favorite tracks:
#12- "L-Dopa"
#1- "Renee"
#9- "The Move"

Podcast in production

Hi kids!  Miss me?  Probably not.  So it's been almost a year since I've published a blog.  Does that mean I'm no longer a Blogger?  So what's been the holdup? 
A. I haven't been listening to new albums in full lately.
B. I have two bands again.  No longer just the one.
C. I have a life other than music.
D. I've been playing around with the idea of starting a podcast.

So what's up with the podcast?  Of course I've been thinking of doing a music podcast but I've been very disappointed in the copyright issues involved in using music for a podcast.  So I guess I will put the call out there.

ARE YOU A SONGWRITER?  DO YOU PLAY IN A BAND?  ARE YOU A PERFORMER?  I WANT YOUR MUSIC!  SEND LINKS TO YOUR ORIGINAL SONGS OR MP3S OR EVEN VIDEOS TO FIERCELYME@HOTMAIL.COM!  I WILL GLADLY SHARE YOUR MUSIC WITH THE WORLD!  However I do have the right to comment, criticize, or just plain bash your song!  But you don't have to worry about that right?  Your stuff is better than the other bands out there in the World!

So share this with your musician friends.  Send me your music.  Tell your brother and sister to send me their music.  THAT EMAIL AGAIN WINK?

FIERCELYME@HOTMAIL.COM

FIERCELYME THE PODCAST COMING SOON.

Later peeps,

Fme