Archive for the music Category

Echo & The Bunnymen/Echo & The Bunnymen

Posted in CD of the day, music, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 260000005UTC 12 by marky7235

Echo & the Bunnymen

Echo & the Bunnymen are an English post-punk group, formed in Liverpool in 1978. Their original lineup consisted of vocalist Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bass player Les Pattinson, supplemented by a drum machine. By 1980, Pete de Freitas had joined as the band’s drummer, and their debut album, Crocodiles, met with critical acclaim and made the UK Top 20. Their second album, Heaven Up Here (1981), again found favour with the critics and reached number 10 in the UK Album chart. The band’s cult status was followed by mainstream success in the mid-1980s, as they scored a UK Top 10 hit with “The Cutter“, and the attendant album, Porcupine (1983), reached number 2 in the UK. Their next release, Ocean Rain (1984), continued the band’s UK chart success, and has since been regarded as their landmark release, spawning the hit singles “The Killing Moon“, “Silver” and “Seven Seas“. One more studio album, Echo & the Bunnymen (1987), was released before McCulloch left the band to pursue a solo career in 1988. The following year, de Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident, and the band re-emerged with a new line-up. Original members Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson were joined by Noel Burke as lead singer, Damon Reece on drums and Jake Brockman on keyboards. This new incarnation of the band released Reverberation in 1990, but the disappointing critical and commercial reaction it received culminated with a complete split in 1993.

After working together as Electrafixion, McCulloch and Sergeant regrouped with Pattinson in 1997 and returned as Echo & the Bunnymen with the UK Top 10 hit “Nothing Lasts Forever“. An album of new material, Evergreen, was greeted enthusiastically by critics and the band made a successful return to the live arena. Though Pattinson left the group for a second time, McCulloch and Sergeant have continued to issue new material as Echo & the Bunnymen, including the albums What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? (1999), Flowers (2001), Siberia (2005) and The Fountain (2009).

Echo & the Bunnymen is the fifth studio album by the British post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen, and the last with founder member Ian McCulloch and drummer Pete de Freitas. The album was produced by Laurie Latham who recorded the album in Germany, Belgium, London and Liverpool after an aborted attempted at recording the album without de Freitas and with producer Gil Norton. With Latham being an exacting producer and singer Ian McCulloch receiving star treatment and drinking heavily, the recording of the album was more difficult than the band had initially hoped. The album made more use of keyboards than their previous albums, which had been string heavy.

Although Echo & the Bunnymen was successful in the United States and, to a lesser degree, the United Kingdom, it received mixed reviews from the music press following its release in July 1987. The album reached number four on the UK Albums Chart, number 51 on the United States Billboard 200, number 51 on the Canadian RPM100 Albums and number 22 on the Swedish Albums Chart. Since its release, the album has been certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry. The album includes the singles “The Game“, “Lips Like Sugar” and “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo“. [Wikipedia]

The Game—-Beginning with that classic melancholy lead guitar sound, the familiar bass line enters and ushers in the laid back and lazy vocal of Ian…this is so smooth and pleasant that you immediately wonder why you have not listened to this for so long. The lyrics mean something and the emotion is poured on so thick you have to chisel it from your cerebellum. The vocal overlays are a nice touch and round out the song in a magical way. Fantastic!!!

Over You—-From the very beginning of this track, the magic is everywhere. This is bright and shimmering…the keyboards add a glimmer that is wonderful…you can not escape the damn addictability of the song. Ian delivers his lines with little vocal nuances that create a mood that literally shine with sun….hard to believe that many people considered this band a goth outfit at the beginning. They are pure purveyors of pop magic…the organ/keyboard in the middle of the song is brilliant. Play this twice.

Bedbugs And Ballyhoo—-With a jaunty marching drum and a keyboard line that makes you think of The Doors, the song develops into an acceptable piece of pop mastery that is nice to revisit from time to time without ever becoming a favorite. I don;t dislike this, but it is a bit to jigsaw sounding for me…the band included so many different sounds in one song that at times it becomes a bit confusing…none the less, I am in a minority….for many people this was a defining song.

All In Your Mind—-A bit more aggressive, the song carries the post-punk moniker that the band has over into this song. The keyboards are definitely 80’s inspired with some nice synth swirls popping up…McCollough varies his vocal abit..allowing his range to show. This is really nice.

Bombers Bay—-Bright and shimmering from the onset, the layers of sound that accompany this are remarkable. I love it when Ian sings in that quasi-romantic tone of his that even now makes my heart melt. This is wonderful in every sense of the word…the guitars are subtle yet important, the drums are in your face without being obnoxious, the keyboards are underwhelming but present none the less and the voice cries out to be stroked and coddled. Masterful!!!

Lips Like Sugar—-Perhaps the best known and best-loved song in this bands entire catalog, this song combines every element of the band that made it a huge success and amplified it by 100,000%. Not to mention that the video was a classic! With a classic McCollough vocal, the band is just as important to the sound of this song….you can not deny the addictive quality of the song and the shimmering sound that pervades through the entire thing. Although the song does sound a bit dated at this juncture, the bass line that runs through the entire song is timeless.

Lost and Found—-Now…..this is pretty damn nice. The guitars are delivered with a progressive note sound that builds and builds and yet stays in the same magical place…to me, this is remarkable. Ian sounds incredible strong and ridden with angst…this is incredible…full of bare emotions and beautiful layered sounds that create a landscape in 4 minutes.

New Direction—-again, reeking od the type of shimmering pop masterpieces that bands today seem to be allergic to, this song is perfect. there is just the right amount of background fuzz, the nice bass sound and some vocal histrionics that are either over layed or preformed by someone else…this all come together in a perfect recipe needed to make pop perfection.

Blue Blue Ocean—-Not a favorite song of mine, the refrains are hit or miss…the chorus does come together in a nice fashion though, creating that lush sound that appeals to me so much with this band. This is nice, but of course every release needs filler.

Satellite—-This is a nice distraction from the onset….musically, the song is a bit more sonic and raucous and the vocal is much more aggressive. I like this style for the band as well as I like the calm and introspective elements of the band. This is nice…a standout track for me and a really nice place to revisit.

All My Life—-This is more bass heavy and pronounced in the rhythm section…there almost seems to be some strings involved as the song has a lush and textured feel. Ian sounds better than I have ever heard him sound…he has a certain way of saying words that you know in a moment if you are hearing him or an imposter. This borders on beautiful!!!

Jimmy Brown—-With a really nice lead intro and some drums that are almost recorded to loud, this song is a version of Bring On The Dancing Horses that is either mis titled or erroneously confused. This is a much more electric version…with aggressive guitars and drums that just slay me…but still the calm and collected vocal of Ian holds it all together. Nice!!!

Hole In The Holy—-Following much in the line of the recipe that is Echo, this song is so shiny and shimmering that you almost ignore the rather sedate and morose lyrics that lead such a pleasant song. I kid you not, this is shiny and shimmering from the word go…reminding me of a bright day and the ripples that flow across the lake with each jumping fish…you feel the warmth and the comfort of the sun and the comfortable feeling of being at peace…this track..remarkably makes me very happy.

Soul Kitchen—-This plays rather odd for me….taking all of the pop out of the sound, the song borders on being  piece of mid-80’s psychedelic pop. Not that this is bad…it is just the transition can be difficult. The bass line is excellent and the chorus allows Ian to be a bit more forceful and energetic. This is nice, but not a favorite.

The Game [Extended]—-This track is not so much an extended version of the original, but rather a more sedate acoustic version. It allows the vocal to really shine without all of the background sounds…in fact, it seems as if Ian is pushed way to the front…I almost prefer this over the original.

Bedbugs And Ballyhoo [Extended]—-Not much different from the original…just a few seconds of a longer introduction….what is the point?

Over Your Shoulder—-Wow….this is a nice noisy mess….the guitars are over layed and full of feed back. the vocal is pushed way to the back of the mix…you strain to hear some of the words…but it works in an incredible way…this is masterful….yes!!!

Bring On The Dancing Horses—-Now this is the song that I expected it to be…bright shimmering and reminding me of the best years that have passed me by. You can not deny the pop sensibilities of the song or the band. They delivered a masterpiece of a song for the Pretty In Pink soundtrack and then disappeared for almost 20 years…what is up with that? Still classic after all of these years.

****1/2 out of 5

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Pet Shop Boys/Yes

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 280000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Pet Shop Boys are a British Electronic Dance Duo formed in 1981. Their first single West End Girlscharted worldwide and the duo have been unstoppable every since. Combining inescapably danceable beats, a low sad hum in the very backdrop of the music, and the talk-sing style of Neil Tenant, the band has remained a cult favorite in the U.S. and a hugely successful act in the rest of the world. Next to Erasure, Pet Shop Boys have defined Euro-trash Disco for decades. Boasting sales worldwide of over 50 million units, 10 proper CD release, numerous remix CDs’ and compilations, Yes was released in April 2009.

Love, etc.—-When you are PSB fan, every new release is an event. This is no different…Neil’s voice is like hearing from a long ago friend that you warm up to immediately. The music is always consistent and as expected. The gentle beats are up front, the low hum that matches the vocal is perfectly blended. The song has a certain rave induced euphoric feel to it that I really love. Of course, the song covers familiar territory lyrically…excess, flamboyancy, greed…..

All Over The World—-Sounding like classic 90’s era PSB, the song has a bitter melancholy to it. Neil still delivers a classic vocal. Does any one else think that Neil sounds remarkably like 70’s soft-rock balladeer Al Stewart. Check it out and let me know…it would be a kick for the Boys to cover a Stewart song. The song is masterfully composed, combining orchestration and electronica as only they can do it. BRAVO!

Beautiful People—-Great, Great Song….it stands right next to  noticed PSB recordings like Shameless or Flamboyant. It melds into their ‘image’ so well….the British irony next to the deadpan delivery is masterful.

Did You See Me Coming?—-Featuring Johnny Marr on guitar, it carries a heavy similarity to the ‘supergroup ‘ Electronic. But, it still keeps intact everything that makes the Boys a great duo. A nice guitar melody that fits with the keyboards. Rumored to be the second single, this should do really well. WOW!!!

Vulnerable—-Stand this song next to anything from ‘Nightlife’, and it would fit perfectly. These guys have a knack for writing a great, unforgettable pop hook. The song is continually moved forward by a nice marching beat and strummed guitar. Absolutely Fabulous!!!!

More Than A Dream—-Ah, that welcome melancholic vocal delivery. It is fabulous how Neil can sound so serious over dance beats. A nice integrated vocal chorus is a magical touch. Classic Pet Shop Boys!

Building A Wall—-Features a rare ‘vocal performance’ from Chris Lowe, the song is right up there with other classic singles. The refrain….”I’m Building A Wall, Not So Much To Keep You Out, But More To Keep Me In.” Masterful, cheeky, ironic, clever…..GOD!!!

King Of Rome—-Reminding me immediately of  ‘My October Symphony’, the song has a sadness that overwhelms but makes you dance anyway. Romantic, intense and joyous!

Pandemonium—-A raunchy, euro-disco romp that moves you and makes you giggle. The vocals are classic, the lyrics funny and catchy. The musical backdrop is sheer joy! The song and it’s feel just makes you happy!

The Way It Used To Be—-A romantic, heartfelt ode to the past and the sorrow when it is unattainable. The music is sublime, as is the vocal delivery. Classically delivered and full of the past…..

Legacy—-Perhaps a swan song, perhaps of ‘threat’ of things to come, this tour-de-force is epic in nature and sound. As a fan of this band from the very beginning, I own no less than 67 Pet Shop Boys items, this album took a few days to get into my system and now it is stuck. I’m looking for ‘Disco 5’ already.

***** out of 5

Silversun Pickups/Swoon

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, music, random, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 260000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Silversun Pickups is an American rock band from Los Angeles, Ca. Throughout their short career, the band has released 2 EPs’ and 2 full-length CDs’. Despite constant comparisons to Alt-Rockers The Smashing Pumpkins, Silversun Pickups owe more to noisier 90’s Icons like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. The bands’ debut, released in 2006, produced 4 top-ten singles on the Modern Rock chart. Swoon was released in April 2009.

There’s No Secrets This Year—-Jumping on you from the quiet, the layers of sound increase and increase. Brian’s voice is top notch and welcome. I have been waiting for this release since early last year. The song is very ‘heavy’ in guitar layers, the duo vocal delivery is supreme!

The Royal We—-a nice enough keyboard intro, vocal coming out of the subtle reverb. Brian emotes so much in his delivery. At times, he reminds me much more of Claudio Sanchez  from Coheed And Cambria than the ever present Billy Corgancomparisons. The guitar jangles along at a steady pace and a bass induced hum lies in the background. At times the song open up in a full rock-gallop,  then reins itself back in waiting for the homestretch.

Growing Old Is Getting Old—-A sedate pleasant bass guitar intro with a nice quiet hum in the backdrop. The vocal has a nice echo, giving it a nice psychedelic feel. This band brings together so many musical sounds from the past, combines them together and makes itself unique in its’ own right. Very Nice!! The song literally explodes into a cosmic noise-fest that makes my pulse quicken and my body flush. WOW!!!

It’s Nice To Know You Work Alone—-From the onset, sounding like a different band altogether! The bass emerges, the vocals join in and I am comfortable again. The song has a wonderful ebb and flow cohesiveness that really works. The chorus is in your brain, the melody permeates your cells. As good as Little Lover So Polite, and that is saying something for me. I have listened to that song about 100,000,000 times!

Panic Switch—-The first single released from this CD, it is acceptable. I think there are more and better to come from this CD. It is undeniably noisy and comfortable, which is probably why it was chosen. Brian delivers a wonderful vocal, the delivery is intense. A great video also….check out how freaky the drummer is…lol.

Draining—-Sedate and emotive, the quiet beauty of the song is the high point. The duo vocal is wonderful, and the chorus brings it home. The nice musical interlude in the song is a pleasant romp through ‘quiet noise’. Beautiful

Sort Of—-The beginning chords of the song borrow some sort of sound from the Billy Idol classic Rebel Yell. It seems to disappear as soon as it might be noticed. Another song with one of those magnificent ‘stick-in your brain’ choruses. Fantastically delivered and wonderfully constructed. I LOVE THIS BAND!!!

Substitutions—-A nice bass driven romp. The guitar chord is more upfront in the mix, and a down=tempo to the music brings on the chorus. Not as noisy, but still as powerful.

Catch And Release—-A nice Flea inspired bass line, the vocals are more calm and introspective. The song really never goes forward for me. Not a favorite but still passable.

Surrounded [or spiraling]—-Ending the release with a nice Jesus And Mary Chainfuzz, the noise in the background actually sounds layered on top of another layer. When Brian sings of distortion and being surrounded, he describes the feeling of the song precisely.

****1/2 out of 5

Snow Patrol/A Hundred Million Suns

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, music, random, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 240000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Snow Patrol are an Irish/Scottish Alt-rock band based in Glasgow. Formed in 1992, the band floundered through 1 EP and 2 little noticed full- length releases before it was signed to major label Ploydor in 2002. The third time was the charm! Final Straw, released in 2004, sold in excess of 1/2 million copies. 2006 saw the release of Eyes Open, and an increasingly growing U.S. fanbase thanks to TV drama Grey’s Anatomy, using the single Chasing Cars in a few episodes. The release went on to sell an astounding 2 1’2 million units!!! A Hundred Million Suns continues to sell well and is the bands’ 5th release.

If There’s A Rocket, Tie Me To It—-Emerging from a dark backdrop, the guitar enters gently and the vocal is sweet and calm. The lyrics are achingly beautiful, Garys’ vocals are supreme. The song open up in volume abd becomes a nice up-tempo ballad that has become a trademark for the band.

Crack The Shutters—-Beginning like another ‘recipe-proven’ ballad, the song allows for emotion and jamming at the same time. It is indeed what I expect from Snow Patrol and I was/am not disappointed. Great ebbs and flows of mood and instrumentations, lyrics that bring tears to your eyes and a heartfelt delivery that wants you to pat Gary on the head.

Take Back The City—-Nice change from the tried and true ballads. The band can jam and this song proves it. From the staccato intro to the nice rhythm section, the band is tight and effective. The guitar moves to the front mid song and shines. The vocal is more sedate and in turn allows the rest of the band to shine.

Lifeboats—-Taking a nice 60’s inspired tone, the song also brings to mind some Stone Roses song or the other. Nice keyboard infused effects and a laid back vocal, the song has a nice ‘groove’.

The Golden Floor—-Even more ‘hazy’ than the previous song, a throwback to the cloud-induced sway of the past. A nice nod to bands like The Verve, Sonic Youth and The Stone Roses.

Please Just Take These Photos From My Hand—-A really great jangly guitar intro, the song open up with the rhythm section joining in about mid verse. A good change of pace after too many downer tunes. The song has lots of energy and emotion. Great!

Set Down Your Glass—-Full of melancholy and down right despair. The song really emotes a sadness that you can not escape. I would not want to live here!

The Planets Bend Between Us—-Gary Lightbody has a unique, Irish way of pronunciation that is sublime and attractive. A sweet ode to togetherness and unity. Somewhat mundane, too much sadness all at once, but enjoyable.

Engines—-With a odd background noise that sounds like an amplified kazoo, the song is more musically and vocally uplifting. The music drives the song forward and forces the vocals to come along. Nice!

Disaster Button—-Coming full circle and smacking you in the face….the band proves that it can produce U2 quality social commentary. The song has a big arena feel and will serve them well on the tour.

The Lightening Strike—-The song is actually divided up into three parts: I was like whatever. It’s just one long song to me. Of course it goes up and down, hither and yon. I really. really like this band! Theyneed to chill out on the ballads and rock like theycan, otherwise they will lose the fanbase that they have.

***1/2 out of 5

Punk Goes Pop/Volume 2

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , on 230000004UTC 12 by marky7235

Another release in the Fearless Records series of ‘Pop’ goes whatever. The label always manages to corrupt, beautify and sometimes destroy pop songs. I have garnered masterpieces, disappointments and down right brilliance from these collections.

What Goes Around/Alexsana—-A nice, brilliant, masculinized re-working of Justins’ pop masterpiece. The vocals are a bit erratic at times, but the basic melody remains intact and is a pleasant listen.

Apologize/Silverstein—-A classic sounding re-working of the One Republic single. A bit more beefed up and in your face, not bad at all.

….One More Time/August Burns Red—-I love the total desecration of syrup pop crap. This band absolutely  does a wonderful job of destroying that which is totally destroyed!

When I Grow Up/Mayday Parade—-This band obviously wanted nothing to do with the cover of The Pussycat Dolls, the delivery and execution are half-hearted and uninspired. Why waste the time????

Over My Head/A Day To Remember—-A nice re-work of The Frays’million selling single….a great noisy backdrop and over-layed vocal is a nice touch….midway through the song, we are treated to a total departure from the norm and some nice gut screams are delivered. Magnificent!!!!!

Smooth/Escape The Fate—-A cover of the Santana mega-hit, we keep the nice guitar squeal. The vocal is slightly muted, but the bluesy feel to the song really emerges. Good to hear this song again in this context.

Ice Box/There For Tomorrow—-I am not familiar with this Omarion song, but my impression of this ‘cover’ is ho-hum. Just generic unispired slop. I have no need to seek out the original.

Flagpole Sitta/Chiodos—-Going back a ways for this Harvey Danger cover, Chiodos proves why they are one of the best up and coming bands of our time. Wonderful, retaining the classic sound but with the bands trademark sound. Great!

Beautiful Girls/Bayside—-Sean Kingstonshould be envious of the job this band does with his song. Losing most of the reggae overtones, but keeping the r’ n b’ bassline, the song is a masterpiece.

See You Again/Breathe Carolina—-How the hell do you get talked into covering a Miley Cyrus song…..well, I guess if the money is good enough! This is actually great! Reminds me of modern time Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Daft Punk. Really great!

Disturbia/The Cab—-Covering Rihanna is a daunting task, and this cover does not deliver. I think this is just BAD!!!

Toxic/A Static Lullabye—-Staying true to the basic musical elements, the vocal is even more sexy than Britney ever thought of being. Highs and lows, a backdrop of grunted vocals and a catchy chorus, WOW!!!

Love Song/Four Year Strong—-Another song that I’m really not familiar with. A Sara Bareilles cover, the delivery this band is great. I like this song—-just the way THEY sin it.

I Kissed A Girl/Attack Attack—-Of course you have to include Ms. Perryin your cover compilation! This is a computer generated MASTERPIECE….WAY WAY WAY better than the original….OMG!

*** out of 5

O.A.R./All Sides

Posted in 1, CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , on 160000004UTC 12 by marky7235

O.A.R. aka Of A Revolution, is an American rock band from Maryland. The band, formed in 1996, floundered until 2005 , with the CD Stories Of A Stranger. The band claims worldwide sales of 1.2 Million. In 2008, the band released the growing.fan favorite All Sides, their 7th release.

This Town—-Sounding generic and unique at the same time, perhaps this is the appeal. The chorus and the down tempo refrain adds a catchy quality to the song.

Shattered—-Sounding, musically, like an 80’s era The Police with a decidedly U2 vocal. Brilliant in delivery and content, life IS a strange lesson.

Whatever Happened—-With a nice alt-blues/R.E.M.sounding music track, the vocal delivery is unique and pleasent. A nice jangly-guitar keeps my attention.

Try Me—-Magnificent in vocal delivery, sometimes you expect the voice to go to a growl. A nice up and down tempo of the guitar drives the song forward and elicits the vocal….Wonderful.

One Day—-Wow! Something like you would expect from the Counting Crows, a great double track vocal is the spotlight in the song. Introspective and sad, yet joyfully sailing. Wow!

Something Coming Over Me—Joyful….like seeing a street musician who truly enjoys jammin’ for the public. A nice jangly beat and blues tinged vocals just makes the song feel good.

What Is Mine—-A nice reggae feel to the song allows for a pleasant listen,  lyrically the song has disdain, anger and ownership. A nice emotion fueled field trip.

Dinner Last Night—-Sometimes reminds me of Bob Dylan,  that whole Alt-Country thing. Not bad, but….whatever.

The Fallout—-Generic Alt-rock fare that really goes no-where. It’s ok for jammin’ to, but substance is forsaken.

Gift—-A beautiful jangly guitar envelopes you at the onset, the vocal is cool, haunting and at the same time heated. Heartfelt and intense, the lyrics are painful and sad. An remarkable attempt to reach everyone that is so successful it hurts.

War Song—-Gosh….stark and beautiful. Lonely and haunted….scary and electric…….eerie and encompassing. A magnificent composition.

On My Way—-Again, vocally masterful. Musically quiet and moody. The delivery is slightly blues-tinged but accessible. Wonderful.

*** out of 5