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Music Release Radar Roundup Reviews

Recent Nostalgia: Release Radar Round Up – September 12th 2018

In 2018, on a now defunct blog, I began a series of mini reviews based on the music that Spotify was recommending to me on my personalised Release Radar playlist. There was only one instalment of this series but I am thinking about giving it another go as I believe it is a sound concept.

Here is the original article, reproduced for nostalgia’s sake. Hopefully you’ll find something to enjoy here:

JEFF The Brotherhood – Camel Swallowed Whole

Heartwarming lo-fi Indie Rock from Nashville. Camel Swallowed Whole has a charming laziness underpinning it. The lethargically plodding bassline sets the groove beautifully for the understated guitar melodies and laid-back vocals. A recorder solo adds to the DIY charm. In the back-half of the song a distorted and discordant guitar solo brings some vague hints of Stephen Malkmus’ early work with Pavement. A

Autechre – mirrage

The IDM veterans latest offering is a swelling sea of droning synths and intense reverse reverb. The way the weird little stutters of reverse reverb interact with the bizarrely modulated higher synths lends an illusion of tape-based production, although I suspect it was recorded using the duos unique generative production software. I imagine this would be fairly underwhelming to anyone but the most hardcore fan (of which there are plenty) and unlikely to attract many converts. B minus

J Mascis – See You At The Movies

The self-described inventor of “ear bleeding country” sure knows how to write a pretty little country rock song. See You At The Movies has a jaunty rhythm that bounces along pleasantly under his trademark sad vocals and twisting lead guitar lines (not to mention his legendary grizzled Jazzmaster tone) ensure this track will sound great to even the most casual fan. The sound of  a rock genius at rest. A

Barbara Morgenstern – Brainfuck

Pretty acoustic guitar picking nestles up comfortably alongside deep bass drones and stuttering cut up string samples on the intro to this dark electro pop song. The beats on this track are shuffling pops and crackles reminiscent of the crackle and pop of a vinyl record run-off groove. The vocals are sultry and warm, recorded with crystal clarity, lending the whole thing a ‘90’s Trip-Hop vibe. A

TV Smith – No Hope Street

There’s nothing new or original in ‘70’s Punk survivor Tim Smiths latest strum-along social commentary but he delivers it with such heroic underdog gusto that you find yourself nodding and singing along. The lyrics have a nostalgic air to them, with the verses written in the past tense and detailing disbelief at the many misfortunes that have befallen him and the grim determination to stand up to the shadowy establishment figures responsible. B

Cloud Nothings – The Echo Of The World

Spiky guitars and hyperactive drumming are the order of the day on this latest Cloud Nothings single. The vocals are grungily snotty, sounding a little like Billy Corgan in places. The tune has a sense of grandeur that I’ve never really heard in their other work, although they don’t seem to be able to reach the dizzyingly euphoric heights this track seems to be aiming for, ultimately writing a cheque the band are unable to cash. C

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Categories
Pop Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Offspring – Gotta Get Away

Day 23. Damn, I’ve been very busy recently & have fallen a little behind with Song of the Day. For today’s entry I am choosing this ode to depression & social anxiety by The Offspring. It’s a great tune by a band who, it’s fair to say, have had a hit & miss career. Nevertheless, Smash! is a great album & this tune is fantastic.

Fun fact: frontman Dexter Holland completed his PhD in Molecular Biology in 2017. He is also the creator of the Gringo Bandito hot sauce.

I’m getting edgy all the time
There’s someone around me just a step behind
It’s kinda scary, the shape I’m in
The walls are shakin’ and they’re closing in

Too fast or a bit too slow
I’m paranoid of people and it’s starting to show
There’s one guy that I can’t shake
Over my shoulder is a big mistake

Sitting on the bed
Or lying wide awake
There’s demons in my head
And it’s more than I can take

I think I’m on a roll
But I think it’s kinda weak
Saying all I know is
I gotta get away from me

I tell you something just ain’t right
My head is on loose but my shoes are tight
Avoiding my friends cause they all bug
Life is a riddle and I’m really stumped

If you reason, don’t you know
Your own preoccupation is where you’ll go
I think I’m being followed, I look around
It’s only my shadow creepin’ on the ground

I think I’m on a roll
But I think it’s kinda weak
Saying all I know is
I gotta get away from me

Looking for some great music? Here’a a Spotify playlist compiling the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) entries so far. Feel free to browse my profile for earlier Song of the Day playlists.

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Categories
Facebook Challenges Music

7 days/7 ’90’s songs Facebook Challenge

You’re probably familiar with these types of Facebook challenges that ask you to post something for seven days straight. They always start off with something like “to break up the monotony of Facebook….” I recently found a playlist of one which I did way, way back in 2016, which was a song from the ’90’s for seven days. I’d like to share that with you.

Day 1: A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario

I always seem to gravitate towards A Tribe Called Quest when I’m feeling down or angry about political issues, for some reason. Something about the laidback feel of the beats & the enthusiastic feel of the MCing always helps me to feel a little better. In 2016 I was reeling from the general election the previous year & the disastrous Brexit referendum earlier in the same year & therefore listening to Quest loads. A love of this video would have made choosing Scenario an easy task.

*

Day 2: Meat Beat Manifesto – Asbestos Lead Asbestos

I had only recently purchased their seminal album, Subliminal Sandwich, after someone compared one of my songs the second disc of bizarre, experimental soundscapes. This track, & it’s great video, is an excellent Triphop-influenced cover version of a World Domination Enterprises song. Regular readers may remember it cropping up during the Song of the Day (Covers) series.

*

Day 3: NOFX – The Decline

I wonder if I was thinking of value for money here, with this 18 minute Pop Punk epic. Sadly, there’s no video for this song. Pure & angry Pop Punk excellence. Bouncy & anthemic in equal parts. I remember thinking it was about the post-9/11 Bush administration when I first heard it (late) in the early ’00’s, but it’s pre-9/11 release (’99) rules that out. A savage diatribe against the ‘religious right’.

*

Day 4: Pavement – Here

Another song without a video, Here was my favourite Pavement song at the time of the challenge. A title which is constantly changing in my head. My most recent “best of all time” list actually placed Grounded in my top-ten. Here is a gloriously (if deceptively) simple slacker ballad with some incredibly memorable lyrics. A+ song.

*

Day 5: David Bowie – Little Wonder

David Bowie shocking & awing in equal measure with this Drum n Bass inspired tune. Great song, great video & a reminder that Bowie is one of the greatest, & most diverse, musical artists in history. I love how heavy & upbeat it is following the smooth slacker tones of Pavement’s Here.

*

Day 6: Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5

Another awesome video & a Hammond Organ flavoured slice of ’90’s Indie, flavoured by ’60’s Psych Pop. A charmingly upbeat tribute to the band’s super heavy-lift vehicle of choice, the Saturn V rocket.

*

Day 7: Fugazi – Blueprint

A smooth & melodic tune from the Post-Hardcore pioneers. Blueprint drips with DIY, independent cool. Sadly no video again, but an absolutely superb tune form this most ethical of all Indie bands.

*

Here they are in a Spotify playllist:

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Categories
Ambient Experimental Post-Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Mogwai – Helicon 1

Day 22.

This entry is as much for the video as it is for the song. The aching nostalgia conveyed by the grainy, stop motion footage is supremely powerful. Especially when paired with the grandiose melancholy of the song.

Due to this song being an instrumental, I decided it might be both amusing & informative to quote the Wikipedia page for the song’s description of its composition:

The song begins with almost inaudible guitar, heavily delayed and reverberated, playing a descending three note melody. At (0:25), a bass riff (based around the chords of D major and B minor) enters. At (1:00), slightly distorted, heavily delayed and reverberated guitars begin playing along to the bass riff, swooping in and out. At (1:34), a relaxed, slow drum beat begins. At (2:50), all of the instruments pause for a brief second, then explode into loud guitar-driven noise, backed by a steady, heavy drumbeat (to which every snare drum beat is accompanied by a tambourine clash). At (4:28), the distorted guitars and drums end, leaving the soft bass riff to close the song, aided by the guitar melody heard at the start of song, all of which gradually fade out.

Live versions of the song are performed at a substantially slower tempo.

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Art Grunge Punk

In celebration of Kurt Cobain’s 54th Birthday, those classic Incesticide Sleevenotes

“Kurt” (a 2014 oil on canvas painting) by Todd Bienvenu, a tribute to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain (20 February, 1967 – 5 April, 1994)

On what would have been Kurt Cobain’s 54th birthday (for seven more minutes anyway, it’s nearly midnight as I type this) I would like to share with you the legendary sleevenotes for the 1992 compilation, Incesticide. I also hope you enjoy the oil painting of Kurt by Todd Bienvenu (above) & the video for early Nirvana single, Sliver. Much love.

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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Cake – Frank Sinatra

Day 21.

I’m not 100% sure why I chose this song. I love it & I only just saw the video for the first time today, so maybe that’s why. Either way, it’s a great example of the particular brand of Indie Rock which I love: what the press called ‘slacker’ music. Great lyrics too.

We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
While Frank Sinatra sings Stormy Weather
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

Beyond the suns that guard this roost
Beyond your flowers of flaming truth
Beyond your latest ad campaigns
An old man sits collecting stamps
In a room all filled with Chinese lamps

He saves what others throw away
He says that he’ll be rich someday
We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station

While Frank Sinatra sings “Stormy Weather”
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

Looking for some great music? Why not try the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist?

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Categories
Art Pop Experimental Folk Indie Rock

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Beta Band – Inner Meet Me

Day 20.

Psychedelic Indie madness from The Beta Band today. Taken from their excellent second EP, The Patty Patty Sound, Inner Meet Me is a messy, glorious mix of frazzled lo-fi folk, subby bass & bleepy, delayed Dub sirens.

I was reminded about the band because they, & the video for this song, are the subject of a poem I have been writing over the last few days, which should see the light of day on my other blog, Slow News City.

Inner Meet Me, oh you can’t decide (repeated) 

Last night I dreamt somebody fell asleep between my knees. 
I couldn’t help it that the facts were rejected by a boy who called me (repeated 3 times) 

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone 

If you were feeling that the light is on the ceiling then you can’t see past your nose. 
Cos what you’re seeing is the man underneath the beam she’s a fool below low. 
I never listen but the people they were christened I wonder who was the one. 
A better placement for the basement when he’s chasing Mrs Mason when they’re facing on the relation  

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in, 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone

Last night I dreamt somebody fell asleep between my knees 
I couldnt help it that the facts were recjected by a boy called me (repeated 3 times) 

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in, 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Art Pop Electronic Music Experimental Pop Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): múm – Green Green Grass Of Tunnel

Day 19.

I just love this great tune by múm & was shocked to see it hadn’t made it into any of my previous Song of the Day series. It’s glorious, melancholy, Scandinavian Electronic Pop music par excellence. Skittering percussion, lush melodies & sugar sweet vocals combine to create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Interestingly, the YouTube video titles the track as ‘Green Grass Of Tunnel’ instead of ‘Green Green Grass Of Tunnel’. A favourite band of mine, British Sea Power, also recorded a cover version of the song & they used the former, shorter title.

Down from the ceiling leaks a great noise

It drips on my head through a hole in the roof

Behind these two hills here there’s a pool

And when I’m swimming in through a tunnel

I shut my eyes inside the cupboard

I make sounds and through the tubes I send this noise

Behind these two hill here I fall asleep

And when I’m floating green grass of tunnel

It flows back down from the ceiling, leaks a great noise

It drips on my head through a hole in the roof

Behind these two hills here there’s a pool

And when I’m swimming in through a tunnel I shut my eyes

Looking for some great music? Why not check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist?

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Categories
Metal Politics

System Of A Down – Genocidal Humanoidz (video)

Back in November I wrote about, Protect The Land & Genocidal Humanoidz, System Of A Down’s first new music in fifteen years. The focus was the excellent video for Protect The Land, with its heroic depictions of those who fight against genocide & the lengthy statement the band released alongside it.

Yesterday, the band released a new video for the second of those two songs, Genocidal Humanoidz, a powerful animation depicting a child’s fight for survival in a wartorn cityscape interspersed with footage of the band furiously performing the song. Classic System Of A Down.

Here’s the video for Protect The Land too, in case you missed it.

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Categories
Electronic Music Indie Rock Pop Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Day 18.

I’ve always loved this superb cover of the Neil Young classic Indie Popsters Saint Etienne. I originally heard it on a compilation titled The Best Album In The World…Ever! (pic below because there was a whole series of these and they were unnumbered).

I’ve been hearing it a lot at work recently as we often listen to Absolute Radio ’90’s, which plays it extremely regularly. If you’ve been following this series of Song of the Day, you’ll know that Absolute Radio ’90’s has been a fairly reliable source of inspiration. Interestingly, the album from which this single was taken, Foxbase Alpha, will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in September of this year, so look out for a blogpost about it nearer the time.

When you were young
And on your own
How did it feel to be alone
I was always thinking of games
That I was playing
Trying to make the best of my time

But only love can break your heart
Try to be sure right from the start
Yes, only love can break your heart
What if your world should fall apart

I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream
Someone should call him and see
If he can come out
Trying to lose the down that he’s found

But only love can break your heart
Try to be sure right from the start
Yes, only love can break your heart
What if your world should fall apart

I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream

Yes, only love can break your heart
Yes, only love can break your heart
Yes, only love can break your heart
Yes, only love can break your heart
Yes, only love can break your heart

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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