Showing posts from 2014

StrangeJuice - "High Anxiety"

Listen while you read

          Listening to a StrangeJuice album is often an experience that leads to introspection and exercises in self awareness.  He writes songs that generally refrain from storytelling and opt more for conjuring images and emotions through use of descriptive phrases.  Through his songs I find myself reliving experiences I had let fade into blurry obscurances.  He manages to add clarity and importance to these memories even though his songs are about his own.  I believe he can do this because he doesn't force his thoughts into normal channels, but rather lets them form on their own by whatever inspires them.  He follows his muse rather than trying to lead it.

          Have you ever walked down a path you are very familiar with, but at a time or condition that is not familiar, like late at night or in the fog?  You may be comforted by the preponderance of things you know, but you can be unnerved by an odd sound, displaced object, or the sudden appearance of …

Asaf Avidan // Over My Head - Official Video [HD]


Sinéad O'Connor - "I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss"

This is a Rock album by a singer/songwriter of impressive talent.  I think this record shows maturity and growth of a very personal and human kind.  It feels like a triumph of everything in her life that led to this point as well as the launch pad of everything that will come after.

Bitter Fruit - "It Gets Worse"

I don't like every punk band I hear and I can't exactly describe why I like one and not another.  Bitter Fruit fills a void for me I haven't had an entry in for a long, long time.  The sound is grungy and dark, harboring anger with a sense of humor.  The artwork of member Jack Bradley immediately drew me in.  The use of brilliant colors on images of violence, horror and grossness is intriguing and attention getting.  The band's sound echos these images in capturing both the angst and the luminescence of life.

Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadow - "Mitternacht"

How can a mere mortal describe the entity and primary creative force behind Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadow?  Anna-Varney Cantodea is hard to accept as a real being.  She seems so otherworldly and surreal you naturally want to assume she is a character, like Elvira, that someone just dons temporarily to entertain.  The truth is that Anna-Varney is her own creation and her own person.  We are enriched in this world that someone could live so bravely honest with who they are and how they feel.  That Anna-Varney has the talent and the willingness to express her inner thoughts and emotions is awe-inspiring.

Engineers - "Always Returning"

Peaceful.  Endearing.  Calming.  Soothing.  Mellow to the bone.  You should listen to this album in a serene environment to enjoy, or play it to calm things down when you are stressed and harried.

Perfume Genius - "Too Bright"

I have such a love/hate feeling about Perfume Genius.  I like the general sound of his music although I tend to find it just short of being a fully developed project.  Each song seems to be an incomplete thought wrapped up in a composition that could use a little more polish and finesse.  So my expectations were not high for this album, but they were hopeful.

When is a physical product better than digital?

I may only be speaking for myself, but I am just not interested in owning a cd just to have it.  If I am just going to rip it and store it I might as well just download it.  So what makes it worth having in my world?

Mainly I think the artist needs to have some interest in making a physical product in an of itself.  If you aren't putting creative energy into designing it and finding some visual expression of who you are and what you have done musically to put into it - then just stop.  There are far too many cds in the world that have no artistic reason for existing.  

Case in point: Morrissey's "World Peace is None of Your Business".  I bought this pre-order in order to get the cd, t-shirt, poster with my name on it, and the limited digipak gatefold as well as the extra tracks for download.  I am a fanatic for Morrissey so it was a given I would get it - but that doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed in the lack of variety in the artwork - the lack of creativi…

If you haven't heard of dimbodius, it's time you do

My favorite find from cdbaby .  One of the least prolific musicians I have come across, but every song he releases is a gem.  Dark and moody, profoundly introspective, sweeping and uplifting, his music evokes the listener's senses and imagination.  His voice isn't pretty but it is expressive and moving.  The music is keyboard and percussion centered with a made-at-home, agoraphobic sound.   That's not to say limited or sparse, the music is full and expansive, it just imparts the mood of isolation and late night introspection.

If you aren't listening to Asaf Avidan you are diminished

I love discovering new music and sometimes I think I am really good at it.  Other times I find out I have been missing something wonderful, amazing, and awe-inspiring for years....  and although I am grateful for having finally found the sound, it makes me question how it was missed for so long.  Asaf Avidan is definitely one for this category.  He has been making music since before 2006 when Asaf Avidan and the Mojos released the EP "Now That You're Leaving".  By the time I found him last year he was performing solo and had several albums behind him.  

All the cool kids listen to: Museum

Apparently there aren't very many cool kids around...
Again, lastfm led me to discover a great band.  I was sent an invite to come check out their music and get some free downloads at their lastfm site or their website. Sounding like the best elements of a merger between She Wants Revenge and Interpol (first albums only of course), but slicked up and oozing style and sophistication on the scale of Suede, Museum really knocked me out. 

You should be listening to: StrangeJuice

StrangeJuice, Mike Anderson, is the epitome of a working musician.  His output is substantial and almost daunting.  He seems to be able to write a song with little effort on almost any subject, reminding me of Stephen Merritt.  His vocal range is amazing and clear at both the lows and the highs.  Why hasn't he been "Discovered"?  From what I can tell from his facebook page and such, I don't think he is working on it too hard.  He seems to like his life as it is in a way that boggles my mind.  I applaud anyone that has found exactly the right niche and makes their happiness there.

Morrissey - World Peace is None of Your Business

How I came to my devotion to Morrissey is an interesting story.  I was in college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, living in a dormitory next door to a friend that wrote album reviews for the college newspaper, The Arkansas Traveler.  He had just gotten an advanced copy of an album by some British band he found off-putting and wondered if I had heard it.  He didn't like writing negative reviews and was looking for something positive to say about the record.  I played it and ended up writing the review myself.  I was immediately drawn to the images created from Morrissey's words.  The music was fantastic but the lyrics meant more to me, somehow speaking straight to my soul and reassuring me I wasn't alone in my thoughts.

Othon - Pineal

Othon Matagaras, Othon, released the album "Pineal" this month and it is phenomenal.  Othon recognizes that his music doesn't fit into conventional categories and has self-genred his music as "Pan Muzik".  It fits with the otherworldly nature of his sound, like a soundtrack to a fairy mound.  I discovered Othon a few years ago through the group Black Sun Productions.  Avant-garde, theatrical, tribal, classical, and eclectic are some of the words used to describe him.  He works in tandem with some of the other fringe dwelling musicians like Ernesto Tomasini, Bird Radio and Marc Almond.  Othon has a very spiritual nature and his music is woven with mysticism and magic.  The album title Pineal is derived from his use of natural elements to stimulate the same named gland which he credits with assisting his creativity.

Asian Envy - Everyone (Except You)

Trying to decide what I want to write about isn't as easy as I thought it would be.  So I might be rambling a bit until I find my footing.  I figure I will take things a week at a time, trying to post at least that often.

So today I went out walking and was listening to music, of course.  Walking makes for good listening time as I can really pay attention to the music with very little distraction.  I walked for a little over 2 hours and for a little over 6 miles.  While walking I was listening to Asian EnvyEveryone (Except You) an Australian Band formed originally in Tokyo, Japan.  Keyboardist and programmer Steve Edwards and lead singer Ross Larkin write and record electro dance/pop with the idea of creating accompanying videos.  The video to " The Beautiful Girls & Boys" is how I found the band as it was posting on a blog I follow.

Little Green Cars - Absolute Zero

Knowing I was going to see Morrissey in Lawrence, KS on Tuesday, May 20 I was looking for places to stay and other things to do that could make it a nice short vacation.  I knew I wanted to go the day before and come back the day after which left time to see what else might be happening in town.  I was thinking of finding a local bar with some Monday night activity expecting Karaoke, Trivia, or something like that.  However, I discovered a band was playing in a place called Record Bar so I looked the band up and was impressed.

First comes acceptance, then comes change

So I turned 50 last month and felt it was time for some changes.  First change: going vegetarian, about time for it really.  I have always been fonder of eating vegetables and could only eat meat when it didn't look like what it once was.  When cooking only for myself I avoided meat almost completely, however, when eating with others I was too complacent to ask for meatless options.  My friend, Ron, and I went to see Morrissey in Lawrence, KS last month (May 20, 2014) just prior to his 55th birthday.