Friday, October 9, 2009

In a Different Light

Okay, so in what seems like a strictly opportunistic, cash-grabbing sort of a situation... Everclear, my #2 band, has released a sort-of/kind-of Greatest Hits disc. Or, well, that's how some people are viewing their latest release, In a Different Light, as. I haven't yet pushed Play, but in my heart, I know Art Alexakis (and whoever he has backing him up these days) puts a lot more thought into this, his life and his love. He's basically called this disc, which houses nine EC favorites, which are re-recorded/re-interpreted, and two preciously semi-unreleased tracks, a fond look back and re-imagining of some classic EC tunes.

And, you know what? I'm all for it. This is a fantastic way, I think (on a marketable side), to get the band back out there before the supposed all-new release in March. Plus, I'm an EC fan, and I'm all for re-interpretations. Y'all know me, I'm the chick who scours youtube for covers of EC (and others') tunes! I loooooove re-dos!

Besides.. If I DID see a problem with this, if I DID think this was a cheap money-grab... How could I whine about it, when GGD has re-packaged things, using re-recordings of some songs as hooks? See? Pot calling kettle black....

So, without further adieu... Let's sway in and out of shadows with Alexakis and EC....

Album: In a Different Light
Artist: Everclear
Released: 2009
Label: 429 Records

Track One: Everything to Everyone
Okay, this used to be my favorite EC song, always tied with Heroin Girl, but in recent years, HG has knocked E2E1 down to a permanent second place, so... We'll just see how this goes!
Oooh, distortion.... Oh, wow! Much more guitars..... God, and there's his voice!!! Oh, that slightly whiny, pained.... Oh, that Alexakis [brand] voice! There's so much more energy this time around! Oh, this works!!!! it just sounds like they're having a frickin' blast... I like the slightly less-polished vibe to it... Like, the guitars... sound... almost more metallic... tin-y, and it's sooooo working!!!! The only mild complaint is the semi-annoying tongue-rolling yelp. It's a little too much.

Track Two: Wonderful
Okay, the first Wonderful was pretty amazing. It was a pretty big hit for them, too... In fact, it may have been their last major hit, so, once again, there's some stiff competition here...
....Guitars.... Oh, wow..... Piano...... It's stripped down, but, still.... Ooooh.... The voice-echo effect is great, too; not too overdone... Omg, the piano.... wow... Geeze... Almost a decade later, and this is still such a powerful song... and it all just builds and builds... and then... a die-down, for a breath of air... Oh, wow........ Better. than. the. first.

Track Three: At the End of the Day
EC.... I don't like gospel-esque backing in my songs.... Grrr.... Hmmm, okay, I haven't heard this... Beyond this... It works.... It's a love song... It's hopeful; it's Alexakis in love and in hope... Oh, it makes me smile.... It isn't their best ballad, but it's good... Oh, no, here's the turn... Lyrics have shifted, here's the reality check you'll almost NEVER get in a GGD ballad.... I like the breakdown for the bridge when Alexakis' voice is highlighted... This is a good non-regrets song... I like it... Rock on.

Track Four: Santa Monica
God, his voice is still so haunting singing these lyrics... The drums sound more like marching drums... like this is some pained dirge into the ocean.... Hmmm, more of those tin-y guitars... This is good... But, it doesn't have quite the same punch that the original had... Until about half way through!!!! OH YEAH!!!! And, for the record, whoever's got backing duties sounds GREAT with Alexakis...

Track Five: Summerland
Ooooh, something a little older... And, I love... Love this... Oh, wow.... Oh, he hasn't even started singing, and omg..... OH!!! WOW.... This... This.... This. is. amazing. God, the music.....
5/5, i'd give it a six, if i could

Track Six: Here Comes the Darkness
Oh, I've heard this, and I know I love it... God, I do.... It's just a great song... This should've been on Welcome to the Drama Club or Slow Motion Daydream... Yeah, Slow Motion Daydream... If it had been written then...
5/5, i'd give a six, if i could

Track Seven: Father of Mine
Okay, what 90's kid, whose parentals got divorced, DIDN'T use this song to get past it?! Ex-act-ly!! ...Ooooh, nice intro.... Less bass, it still works.... Oooh, there's clapping! I like clapping songs... This one seems the most similar to the original so far... It's darn good, but the original's a little bit better.

Track Eight: Fire Maple Song
Now we're going way back.... So, if any Goobers are reading this... It's almost the same as when GGD re-recorded 2DiF for EOAC... And, if I dare say.... This is better than the original, or, at least I like it more... It really rocks, and almost has a alt. country bent to it, which works for EC...

Track Nine: Rock Star
Okay, this is a rock song, and I'm curious to see it in a different.... To see what they do with it. ;-)
Okay, this still rocks without the OMG!polish to it... And, there's those EC [brand] keyboards... It sounds like, once again, they're just having a blast.

Track Ten: Learning How to Smile
Okay.... I loved this of SfaAM:V1.... Hmmmm.... It's good, but it's almost TOO much like the original.... It's good, don't get me wrong, but I think I was waiting for a little more... Still an amazing song, though.

Track Eleven: I Will Buy You a New Life
Oh, wow, neat opening..... Ooooh. This.... Is all taken down... It works... Oh, wow.... I approve, greatly, though the repetitious end is a little much.

And, well, there we have it.... It was a nice, jaunty trip down memory lane.... I loved it. Thank you, Art.... Come back to Houston... I need to see y'all.
i just want my life to be the same, just like it used to be

*Oh, and, okay, fine.... Songs I wish would've been on this: Heroin Girl, Here We Go Again, Overwhelming, and Pale Green Stars*

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Okay, so I like The Used. I do, but I've been putting this album off. For one, it's made me a little uneasy just how much they've pushed it, and, two, Lies for Liars or whatever their last effort was did not impress me like their first two albums did, so I'm really cautious this time around, and it doesn't help that others have been saying it's underwhelming. Oh, well. I'll just judge for myself, as per usual.

So, here we go.

Title: Artwork
Artist: The Used
Label: Reprise Records
Release Date: 2009

Track One: Blood on my Hands
It's the lead-in single for the album, so it should be awesome... Okay, it's got a good beat... McCracken sounds good... Sadly, the chorus seems a little lacking... The filter on Bert's voice is alright... I don't know, this one seems pretty mediocre; just a decent effort that relies almost too much on the chorus... I don't know; I'm feeling it, but not too much.

Track Two: Empty with You
Alright, sounding a little space-age-y... This is building... Okay, I'm diggin'.... Ooh, a soft crescendo... And, I'm lovin' the opening lyric! Okay, this seems more like the Used I like. Hmmm, wait... don't 'empty' and 'hollow' mean the same thing? I think they do.. Oooh!!! A hark-back to Blue and Yellow?... I haven't wasted anything but time vs. I'd like to waste some time with you?... Hmmm, I like it... This is definitely a lot better than BomH... I like this one.

Track Three: Born to Quit
Neat lead-in from EwY... It seems a little too melodramatic... I don't know, this is a meh one for me, too... Like, it either needs to be harder, or softer, or darker, or more distorted, or something... Like, it needs to decide what it wants to me... The lyrics, to me, cry for some other sound... It's all right...

Track Four: Kissing You Goodbye
The Used + piano? I like it. I like it... You know what... I might like them as balladeers than rockers... Hmmm, we'll work on this supposition... If anything, this proves McCracken can do more than scream... I like it a lot, and the strings in the end work.

Track Five: Sold My Soul
Ooooooooh. ......*waits for vocals, music rocks so far*.... "My filthy mouth full of broken words....(?)" Hmmm.... I like this... It makes me think of Buried Myself Alive, a little bit.... I dig this one... The guitars rock... Oooh, PIANO PIECES IN THE BACKGROUND, AWESOME... And, heck, I'm a sucker for songs with angelic metaphors and randomly pretty endings.

Track Six: Watered Down
........I'm being sort-of drawn to the skip button, but... I'm finding myself hanging around... I'll go with a good solid, 'it's alright.'

Track Seven: On the Cross
Okay... No. Just too much for me...

Track Eight: Come Undone
Okie, can they bounce back after that misfire?.... No, not really. They can, just not so much... Really dislike the chorus...

Track Nine: Meant to Die
Okay, NOW we're back on track.... This one just rocks... Oh, and something about light and darkness?! I dig it!! (This would be a dangerous/good driving song...)

Track Ten: The Best of Me
(as opposed to Foo Fighters' Best of You) ....Starting off quiet... a bit funereal, even... Okay, I'm intrigued... And, it takes a full minute and a half to kick off.... Ugh, losing points for that... There's a lot of anger in this song, and you can feel it... It's alright, if you skip the intro.

Track Eleven: Men are all the Same
Neat opening lyric, won't lie... But, once again, it's just too much.

Final verdict: Hit or Miss album is a Hit or Miss album, at least for me. .....Yeah, and I think I'm washing my hands of the Used. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.
surprised to wake and follow the light

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sci-Fi Crimes

Okay, so I'm not gonna lie... I'm pretty psyched for this one. So psyched, in fact, that I'm flatly ignoring the other album I got today, and probably will for a few good weeks, until I get THIS out of my system. See, the thing is... I like Chevelle a lot. They're probably my only "hard rock" band that I really, really dig. They're definitely in my Top 20, close to the Top 10. And, recently, I've been re-listening to Vena Sera and This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)... And, have come to the conclusion, especially in concern of the former, that Chevelle's got a LOT to live up to...

So, Peter, Sam, and Dean... Give it your best shot!

Title: Sci-Fi Crimes
Artist: Chevelle
Label: Epic
Release: 2009

Track One: Sleep Apnea
Guitars.... Crunchy bass0y sounds... I dig the music so far, y'all. THERE'S PETER'S VOCALS!! Allllright, here we go.... Oh, I love the slight echo.... This one has a really good, steady beat. Very head-bob-able... God, this just shows one of the kick-ass things about this band; the fantastic meeting of Peter's gorgeous vocals and their powerful music... It's great... OOOH, more of that awesome echo... That's a really good usage of an effect; I dig it. And, oh I'm in love with this bridge... This is a good start, you guys!

Track Two: Mexican Sun
Drumstick taps!!! Awesome. ...Oooh, Peter sounds so angry on this one. I like it! ...Some screaming? Sweeeet! Rock on! This one's, IDK, dirtier and grungier than Sleep Apnea... But, it's just as good.... Mmmm.... The way Peter's straining his vocals is so spot on... I love this, too... Oh, and the shift in the midst of it... Absolutely great.

Track Three: Shameful Metaphors
We slowing down? We taking a breather? Okay... I like it. I like the change of pace. Heck, I need a break, too. But, see, this is Chevelle... A break is just something that ROCKS!!!, just not quite as loudly. ;-)

Track Four: Jars
Ahhhh; here we are, the lead-in single. It rocks; pure and simple. This song, right here, should get Chevelle new fans...

Track Five: Fell Into Your Shoes
First off, what a cool title, no? I mean, really, what. a. cool. title. ...Anyway... Okay, starting off soft, with some effects... I'm digging..... OOOOOOH!!! Ooooh, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pitch variances!!! And the overlaying!!! OMG. Yes, I approve.... "The skies are overwhelmed," neat lyric; randomly powerful... And the brief pause... Final choruses, with a guitar outro... I'm in heart... This is great, This is really darn good.

Track Six: Letter from a Thief
I'm, oddly, not quite digging the filter of Peter's voice... But, my God, the chorus and everything after makes up for it; the music of the chorus is pure win. ...Bridge is pure win, too... Guitar solo/ending is great... Good lord, this is good.

Track Seven: Highland's Apparition
A song about a ghost?... We'll see... Oh, acoustic... Wow... The slightly softer side of Chevelle, is it? I approve... OOOOOH...... His little..... IDK.... Drawn out sound... And the odd, harpsichord-y guitar... Oh, wow.... This is just as intense as their other music yet, unplugged....

Track Eight: Roswell's Spell
..........I was wondering when it'd happen.... *sigh* I knew the I LOVE IT ALL!! spell would break. Don't get me wrong, this one's good.... Just not as good. The verses are just... I don't approve... But, the choruses are fantastic... Oddness. And the music break's great, too... Hmph. I'm totally torn on this one.... It grows on me as it goes on...

Track Nine: Interlewd
Anyway.... I don't see the point of this little break, unless that's what it is... If it's a pausing point signifying that the last two songs are particularly out there... IDK. We'll see.

Track Ten: A New Momentum
I'm... Sort of digging... I like the semi-strianed screaming... It works well; and the crunchy, angry music... But, for some reason, I'm not quite... Okay, I feeling it more... And... feeling it... I don't know how I feel about this one....
2/5 (ask me again at some point in time from now and it could be a 4/5.. seriously)

Track Eleven: This Circus
....This is... This odd, amazing.... Combination... it switches a lot... There's pacing, and there's sounds, and there's voice effects... And, wow... This is just a neat ending; like one big amalgamation of the whole album... I approve.

Alright... There was a slight nose-dive toward the end... But, overall, this is a very good album. Sadly, it didn't beat out Starsailor for fav album of the year, but it's got the number Two spot! (Yay for Chevelle!)

Stylistically... It's not Vena Sera, and it isn't TToT (CDUI) or Wonder What's Next.... I'd say it's a natural, expected step forward... It is very, very good: an awesome rock album.
Good work, Chevelle. Come to H-Town again, please! I'm dying to see you.

let's let the panic bloom

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ursa Major

Okay, so it's been quite some time since the last collection of new 3EB music dropped. Off the top of my head, and I'm probably a little off, it seems to me that '03 was the last time we'd heard from them, minus a best of collection/greatest hits they released at some point. This means that, besides the typical stress and expectations of a normal album, there's a whole slew of over-expected hopes and ideals just because it's been so long. I mean, the typical expectations of an album are surely stressful enough... But, after being on hiatus for so long?

Geeze, do the 3EB boys have their work cut out for them....

Well, let's see if 3EB could pull it off...
Back from being
Out of the Vein, let's look up and count the stars in Ursa Major.

Title: Ursa Major
Artist: Third Eye Blind
Label: Mega Collider Records
Release: 2009

Track One: Can You Take Me
High pitched whining and crunchy guitars... Sound effects; oh yeah, this is 3EB... Jenkins is almost a little too drowned out... Sex, ideals, and excellent pop rock... Yep, 3EB land, indeed. And, you know what, maybe a riot IS overdue... It's nice to know his voice hasn't faltered in however many years it's been... Great opening track that, with all its styles, will quickly acquaint any newbies to what this band does.

Track Two: Don't Believe a Word
This is pretty much the leading single for the album, so let's see how it goes.....
Big rock music.... I like it..... Digresses into the semi-rap/quick lyrics that's Jenkins' style... It's catchy as all get out... Nice little lyrics there... "give me back my photos...." I love it.... But, yet, I can't help but to think that this is just Jenkins' outlet to complain about the times, and thus be relevant... Maybe taking hiatuses isn't such a good thing...

Track Three: Bonfire
I hear bongos? YES, I hear bongos... Or, some other sort of percussion thing... It strangely fits. This is really good; it's like proof that they can drop the hooks and effects, and still be a darn good and honest act... "if nothing else I am myself / it's all I have to give" I love it...

Track Four: Sharp Knife
Jenkins, slow down..... Oh, well, I should be used to your style by now. My bad, darling. Oh, well... When you do slow down, it's really effective. "At least you left a mark on me" -damn, doesn't everyone...? The slow-fast is really good on this... The music's fantastic... This is so honest and powerful; he's always singing from some pained, honest place... I wish other songwriters would drift there and sit a spell... "careful, you might hurt someone"

Track Five: One in Ten
I hear strings? Yes, maybe.. and piano?... Yes.... I dig. Oooh, and horns... Yes?... Hmmm, I like this a lot... The point is so simple, so powerful, and... so awfully easy to relate to, and the music's divine....

Track Six: About to Break
Wow, Jenkins, do you hate humanity that much? Are you sooooo misanthropic, love? "If there's one thing I can't stand, it's standing next to my fellow man" -geeze, man... You're starting to sound a little Art-ish here... I'm not digging this, but I am digging it, but I'm not, but I am...... It's another soapbox song, and the squeaky/whining guitar is a little too rough/jarring... *eyes narrow*

Track Seven: Summer Town
I really like this one a lot... A whole lot... "I told you everything I knew in a manic, rushing line" -god, who doesn't when they're in love.... This track is amazing. Makes me think of their first release... It's that good, y'all.

Track Eight: Why Can't You Be
Acoustic?... Okay...... Let's go, Jenkins, take me on a trip... I ain't gonna lie, I smiled at the first comparison, and then just nodded along with the rest... This is great.... A fantastic way to explain the hollow desires and hopeless, overly high expectations that love and lust brings... Good job, Jenkins. Good job.

Track Nine: Water Landing
Techno-y... But, a nice highlight of his voice and his words... These guys are a lot like 1,2,3Crows... It's more about the words... When this one breaks down, it kinda goes meh... But, oh, well, it's okay.

Track Ten: Dao of St. Paul
This is as great as Summer Town and Sharp Knife... The chaos in the middle is fabulous.

Track Eleven: Monotov's Private Opera
What the hell type of name?.... Oh, well, let's see how this goes... You know what, this is a really good one, too... Third Eye Blind's almost better slowed down.... Every time...

Track Twelve: Carnival Barker
Once again.... What sort of title?... It sounds dreamy/strained/filtered/disjointed/calming.... Nice instrumental finale.... wish it was a little bit longer...

Well, good job 3EB... You're still relevant, even when you seem to be trying really hard to do so, and you're just as honest and moving as y'all've always been... The hooks are still strong and work just as good as they did back in '97, '99.... And so on.

Wish I could've saw y'all on y'all's H-Town stop...
she shattered because no one loved her

Monday, June 1, 2009

On to the Next One

Okay. So, as mentioned a few blogs back, I purchased some stuff from GCR. What did I purchase? Why, the 2004 effort from Last Conservative, On to the Next One, that's what! Why did I get this one? Well, because I'd been wanting it for a while (not quite the five years it's been out, but long enough), yet I'd just... Never had gotten it, y'all know? And, get this, it came with a sample of Klear's work, so... Two-fer-One! Woot.

Y'all know what this means! Time for another one of Jess' dirt cheap, .02 reviews!

Artist: Last Conservative
Album: On to the Next One
Released: 2004
All right. Very quickly, LC is an alt-rock band out of Buffalo, signed to GCR. Basically, they're one of Takac's babies. Their frontman, TJ, from what I've heard, is charismatic and quite a prolific songwriter. And, fun fact: ex-Gooey sideclowns and the one and only Miyoko are guest musicians on this disc.

So, without further adieu, LC's OttNO...

Song One: On to the Next One
Alright, so we're starting out with the title track? I can dig it. Rough, loud guitars, and a little scream? Cool start, and then it all drifts when the vocals kick in. Oooh, and what nice vocals... It's pained enough, but not weak... It's strongly vulnerable! (Shush, I know I'm throwing out contradictions...) I really like this song - it's a fantastic opener. My slight complaint is that... There seems to be these extra little... Sound effects that seem just a wee-bit distracting. But, it's all good, because this is great. If the rest of the album's like this, I'm gonna be very happy.

Song Two: Can't Get Away From You
Okay, the topic's tried and true - thematically, there's nothing new here, but in the delivery of said theme, there's some lyrical diamonds. And, this is probably gonna be an ongoing thing with this band... Awesome, soul-felt lyrics... Delivered from a talented and earnest song-writer, built up with good pop rock music... (Gee... Sounds like another Buffalonian band....) This song's pop-ier, but it's definitely hooky and catchy.

Song Three: Over My Head
This song is also called 'Come On'.... Okay, smart-ass-ness aside... Like the previous, we're continuing more into straight-up pop territory, and it's just as catchy, if not catchier... But, the lyrics are a bit meh. He seems to string along a few cliches, but it still somehow works. I know, I can't explain it... Shush. I just dig it. The music's awesome, and the little effect on his voice half-way through is just enough bite for this sugar-sweet song.

Song Four: FourFive
Okay, and we're rocking again! Yay. Okay, this one just rocks. I mean, that's really the only way I can put it. Sorry I'm being vague on this one.

Song Five: Anything But Goodbye
I'm sort of liking the keyboards... Oh, they go quickly, okay. His vocals sound a little clearer on this one... And... I really like it. I like the balance between good 'ol pop rock and... Pop... There's... ... There's an all-over-the-place feel to it, but IN A GOOD WAY. Like... there's... So much going on, but...Each and every little musical element shines through... I guess that's good mixing? (Remember, I'm a music-retard.)

Song Six: Hope and Pray
Once again.... Just more rock. ....It's that.... Fast/slow style the Dolls do so well, and these guys do it well, too. One again, lots of different noises coming into play, but each having their chance to shine... God...
Okay. BRUTAL HONESTY TIME. ....Every time I want to bitch about the possibility that this seems overproduced.... The mixing's awesomeness shuts me up. Amazing...
Oh, and despite what I just said.... Cool echoing.

Song Seven: Car Alarm
....starts off with a car beeping. Alright. Clever. But, then, thankfully, it drops the gimmicks and just ROCKS. Once again... It's all I can say, unless I just start repeating what I've been saying: his kickass voice, the great mixing, etc... Well, I can say that I think I've found a favorite song. :-)

Song Eight: Come Down
I was wondering if there'd be a ballad on here, and sure enough, burried between massive amounts of ROCK, here it is.
And, it's impressive. (or I'm just a sucker for men that scream... or write about darkness/light metaphors.)

Song Nine: Keep Your Promises
Their music's really kick ass.... Sorry, just felt like reminding all of y'all of that.
Hmmm.... I really, really like the sound of this one... A whole lot.
That voice I'm really starting to love is a little drowned out on this one, but... Yet again.... Despite the loudness... I can hear it ALL, so clearly... WHO MIXED THIS?!
Oh, fuck me....
Um... Well, GOOD JOB, ROBBY! Mixing is fantastic....
Anyway..... *blink*
Uh... Where was I?
Oh, right..... Um, scratch what I said earlier.... THIS is my favorite.
5/5, easily.

Song Ten: Hey Hey
....Cover of a Neil Young song?.....
Okay, well..... Let's see: A song about the effects of love... That sounds like a perfect pop summer song: a lot of fun, and very single-ish.

Song Eleven: Irish
I just don't like this one. Sorry, LC.....

Song Twelve: I Know You Know I Know
(or IKYKIK -prounounced: Icky Kick, hihi)
Yeah, this is much better than Irish... Awesome lyrics this time around, perhaps more metaphorical than the rest of the album, and he sounds just as good as ever, and IT ROCKS! like the rest of the album... Another solid song.

Song Thirteen: Mary
Alright. Last song... How's it gonna go down?
Static? Okay.... I get it, this band and their producer (oh....fuck, same Doll.) like sound effects. Okay. A little like EC does, too... I can finally go along with it and stop twitching. Congrats, y'all've won me over....
aaaaand, I'm done for.
....Omg... So many different sounds... I swear I hear accordion and ... Some sort of brass, too. Well, rock on... It SO WORKS.
Man, this would be a great encore song.

....While I was listening to this, I was half-assed talking to another Goober, and we both had the same wondering: could you tell if something was produced by Rzez vs. Tak, and... Yeah, I think it could be differentiated, possibly pretty easily. I'm not sure why I'm bringing this up, but, there ya go.

Anyway... This album got better as it went on, except for the minor mistep toward the end with Irish. It's a great pop rock effort, and I can see it being my new driving cd when I'm going back and forth between H-Ville and H-Town. I'm diggin'.

And, I was going to review the Klear sampler, but I'll save that for later... Don't wanna burn through all my new music in one week, y'all know?
the kings and the queens are all powerless now

Friday, May 29, 2009

Paper Empire

Okay. So, as y'all know, Better than Ezra's newest album, Paper Empire, came out a few weeks ago, and I didn't get mine right away, because I ordered it from the band. Well, it appeared in my mailbox, waiting for me, when I got back from my little vacation down in H-Town. Yay!

Truth be told, I haven't really heard anything one way or another about this album. Then again, I'm an Ezralite, but not to the extent that I'm a Goober, y'all know? So, it makes a sort of sense that I wouldn't have heard anything so far about it, good or bad.

So, I guess what I'm trying to also say, in a semi-subtle way, is that... Although I'm not a hardcore Ezralite, I'm not really a casual, either.
True, I've never seen them in concert, though that doesn't say I haven't tried to, and I've never met them, and I don't actually have all their albums... I'm missing their Greatest Hits, another album called Closer , and their live work... But, I know their songs beyond "Good", "Desperately Wanting", and "Lifetime", y'all know? I'm somewhere in between a casual and a hardcore is the key summation here.

My favorite song is probably "One More Murder" tied with "Under You", though I also love "Teenager" and "Happy Endings". Overall, my favorite album is probably How Does Your Garden Grow? And, I'm laying all this out in case any other Ezralite stumbles upon this review and wonders what sort of fan wrote it.

So, without further aideu, the newest album from >Ezra, wlecomming their new drummer: Paper Empire.

Song One: Absolutely Still
From what I know, this was chosen as the albums lead-in single, so it makes since that it's the first track. Overall, it's deffinitely keeping the poprock vibe of Before the Robots. In fact, it reminds me, somewhat, of "Lifetime". Griffin's vocals are great and clear... He sounds fantastic, and the lyrics are full of love and longing... Classic >Ezra content. The beat's good, the chorus is powerful enough... and I'm shocked this song hasn't done better as a single... It sounds like it'd be great on the radio.

Song Two: Turn Up the Bright Lights
This one starts out a little more.... Toned down than the first... And, stays that way. It seems to have this lovely undulating quality to it; like waves, not like a rollercoaster. And the lyrics are great: "She moves like music, but in a moment she'll be gone". Pure poetry. If there's anything Griffin does well... He's a great lyricist... Anyway... This song is great. I'm digging it more than AbStill, a lot more. It's a love letter to some lucky woman and some magical locale.

Song Three: Just One Day
Ooohhhh. I'm feeling some... HDYGG? vibes here, especially with the strings... And then Griffin's vocals come in, a little toned down, more like he's coaxing you than singing to you, and oh, it works..... And then the chorus kicks in, which is the right amount of uplifting and powerful. The song's got a classic theme: What would you do if you could change things, if everyone you love came back for one day, if you could just make your life better, etc... And, that's a tired theme, I know, but >Ezra pulls it off perfectly with this song: they leave it open and accessible, just presenting scenarios that are universal enough to illicit a response of self-reflection in their listeners. Good work. This could be a single.

Song Four: The Loveless
Judging by the title, I figured this would be some slow, sad ballad. It's not... It's just as up-beat *sounding* as the rest of the album so far. There's a good tempo, and accompanying strings... And, the lyrics aren't exactly bright and shiny, but... Well, they pull a GGD: it should depress you, but it doesn't! It's a good song. I especially love the music break, and, as always, strings.

Song Five: All In
Ooooh, okay.... Here's the jangly pop.... And crowd-singing! Oh, wow. This one's gonna just be fun... Yeah, this is fun... Almost as fun as, say, 3EB's "Non-Dairy Creamer". That's all I've got to say... Just fun pop rock. The opening verse is exceptionally great. And, this is just catchy as hell... "The bottom of the line is to have a bit of fun." Fuck, I love it. I'd give it a perfect, but the over-done, distorted synth is a little grating.

Song Six: Fit
I'm just curious as to what this is going to sound- Okay, it sounds... Really epic, and slow... Okay, with a title like this, I'd expect it to sound like the last song, but... After the somewhat bombastic intro... In come Griffin's heart-felt vocals, and... OH! It's a love song, about how people fit together... Wow, I'm an idiot. The lyrics are gorgeous, and Griffin totally delivers, as he always does, especially when he pours out his heart, but... The music's... Almost TOO MUCH.

Song Seven: Hell No!
Starting with organs?... Riffy guitars...? WOAH, WHAT IS UP WITH THE VOICE FILTER?! Oh, wow.... Peter Frampton would be proud... This rocks... It's about the apocalypse, and it couldn't be more upbeat. Rock on, >Ezra. This is great... Nice guitar work, especially.

Song Eight: Hey Love
Okay... I think I'm catching a re-occurring trend with this album... Beautiful, wonderful, heartfelt lyrics, delivered by Griffin's absolutely fantastic voice... But it's all *almost* drowned out by the music, especially when the chorus hits. I mena, I know the chorus is usually loud (duh), but... Man... Anyway, the lyrics completely bump this one's score, as does the bridge when you can pretty much JUST HEAR HIM.

Song Nine: Nightclubbing
....Okay. Techno in MY >Ezra?.... All right. Rock on. Okay, just like All In... I can't really say much except that it's awesome; just purely awesome... When >Ezra decides to POP, they pop. Man, this song is great.... His grating voice, out of nowhere, and SAXOPHONE! And, boy, is this album turning bi-polar...

Song Ten: Black Light
Hmmm... Okay, I'm not exactly digging this one... The quick speaking (rather than real singing) is kind of... Not working for me, and the music really isn't working.... Until the chorus kicks in, and that helps a little, but... Yeah, I'm not feeling this one. Even the cool synth noise that's in the background of the chorus isn't coaxing me.

Song Eleven: Wounded
Hey, 3EB has a song called this! Uh, anyway... ooh, I like the haunting-ish way this starts, and... The overall seriousness to it... It sounds almost eerie. Oooh... I really like this. Griffin's asking for answers, answers he'll never get, concerning the state of humanity; pleading for better days...... And, I'm hearing the pain in his vocals, and there's some sweet bass and synthed noises... And... Oh, man. I think I've found a favorite track!
5/5, easily.

Song Twelve: I Just Knew
Aaaand, I almost knew we'd finish with a slow song. I got very slight "Happy Endings" vibes... Guitar and piano... And his wonderful voice. It's a great one to follow "Wounded", lead us out of the trance-like state that one puts us in, and serenade us about the beauty of 'we're-meant-for-each-other' love... Fuck, this is gorgeous and sweet and so genuine. If Griffin's in love, or if he's gotten married, or whatever.... Then, THIS is how it should be done... Not... Not claiming songs are about something, when they're really about love... Not making a WHOLE ALBUM
about love... Just a few love songs, and one truly beautiful one to top it off.

Okay. There you have it. Overall, as I mentioned a little bit earlier... The album seems a wee bit bi-polar, but it's okay, because it's >Ezra. And... If you're not already a fan... This could snag you, unless, of course, you don't dig Griffin's voice. It's very unique, and it's a deal-maker/breaker for attaining fans. So... Check "Absolutely Still" out on y_tube, and if you dig the vocals... That song's a decent representation of the pop rock side of the album, and find "Wounded" and/or "All In" to see representations of the rest.
As usual, it's a good, solid effort. It didn't overthrow HDYGG? as my favorite album, but I definitely prefer it over Before the Robots.
every dream came real

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Okay. So, we all know I'm happily apart from people, yeah? Right, well, okay, so... Let's say that, for once, I actually want to talk to someone, anyone... Just someone who cares enough to listen to my unintelligible rants for just a little while until I pull it the fuck together and stop crying, okay? Right... Well, so I call, and I call, and no one answers... No one.
Not the guy who said he hoped to see me today, nor the best-friend, nor the other best-friend, nor the Goober who texted me twice with Gooey nonsense, while I'm supposed to be in the classroom... Not them. Not even parents... Except, for Dad. He answered....

And he heard it all...

In vastly more important news... Yesterday, the 14th, was the release of Silversun Pickups' sophomore album, Swoon. About two months ago, I pre-ordered it on Amazon. Also yesterday, I started the last fourth of my Honors seminar: Dance, and the release of that album was the only thing I was looking forward to the whole day. Imagine my extreme disappointment when it was NOT in my mailbox when I checked, two times. Thankfully, Michael saved me from the disappointment, while openly criticizing my music taste, as only he can. Then, my mother helped in her own way, letting me know that in July, we're going to go see Aerosmith and ZZ Top at the Woodlands. Oh, and I also joined Inner Machine, finally. It was actually a decent day.

Then today came and almost went, until a bright little blip of musical bliss pulled me out of the dregs. Swoon had appeared in my mailbox, when I half-expected emptiness. Moral of the story...? Always think the glass is half empty, that way happiness is more easily accessible if the glass gets filled up. Tahdah, easy road to happiness.

So, without further adieu, my review of Swoon:
Song 1: There's No Secrets This Year
Hooray for long titles... You know, I don't really remember Carnavas having titles like that, except for, WTOT.... That's about the only one that was longer and semi-awkwar- Oh! Right, the song... Okay, wow... Aubert's singing a little quicker than normal. It's unexpected, but it's a neat surprise that somehow works with the lyrics. It's a good, strong opener: a little rockier than the fare found on Carnavas.
However, one slight complaint, and yeah I know it's the chorus and all, but... It seems like the song relies on it a little too much, which isn't like them, imo... Oh, well, it's still solid, especially when it breaks down at roughly 4:30, and we're given a peak into the album's title.

Song 2: The Royal We
The guitars sound great with the slight strings... I love the combination of strings and rock; always have, always will. In fact, I think this combines the two as good as, say, GGD's Iris, or Black Balloon, but just in a different way.
Okay, this one seems more verse-based... I like it a lot so far; Aubert's vocals seem angrier and more urgent. But, still, they can slow down and pull you in without scaring you off. This one has a great driving beat to it... It really rocks, comparatively. And his vacillation between quiet and loud is really nice. I like that he's making a point to show off his volume and range, and Monninger's backing vocals are perfect.

Song 3: Growing Old is Getting Old
The first few notes, for whatever reason, make me think of Modest Mouse, which is good in my book. Anyway, loving the simple beat, and the ghostiness to his vocals at first. Oooh, it's nice how the guitars kick in, and the drums, about half-way, too, bringing us out of a haze... Hmm... I really like the bridge and chorus to this one, too: We sing, fight, we cry. / we slide, slide, we slide into the light / Maybe we're sealed in silence / And maybe we feel a guidance. This one is really good... Ends very strong.

Song 4: It's Nice to Know You Work Alone
Okay, first few notes, and I'm NOT DIGGING... But, this is SSPU, so I'll keep going. Okay, once those notes fade out, the song gets instantly better. I guess it's just a weak opening hook. The grinding, rough guitar is good, gives the sensitive-seeming song an edge. It's good, but I think it's the weakest track so far.

Song 5: Panic Switch
Well, this is the opening single for Swoon, so it should be awesome, right? Oh, it IS awesome... This, I think, might be their loudest song yet, and it's kickass. I think it's a fantastic pick for the lead single, and I think it'll do well. It gets played a lot on MTVU...

Song 6: Draining
Starting off soft, after such a loud song.... Makes sense. I'm digging this one a lot, a nice, dreamy trip through aether; a perfect relaxation after Panic Switch.

Song 7: Sort Of
This MIGHT be my favorite song on the album. Aubert's vocalization, going all up and down.... It's really hypnotizing. Plus, the psychadelic guitars as great... This is just a fantastic song... Like, it could have been a bonus on Carnavaz, I think.
5/5, easily.

Song 8: Substitution
This one seems to be the most straightforward rock song, not as dreamy/experimental/ambient as their typical work. It almost sounds surreal: that type of music with Aubert's vocals.... But, I really love this one, too.... It's a great follow-up to Sort Of.

Song 9: Catch and Release
A song about love and sex and romance.... It's very sexual, but it's very beautiful, too... I really love the strings, and the one line: "Who knows / how this feeling grows?" Super simple, but really poignant...

Song 10: Surrounded (or spiraling)
Back to the distortion and flatter vocals, and breathiness... I'm diggin', but not quite as much as some of the other songs. However, the lyrics are very strong, as usual. "Are you dancing / or stumbling beside me?" etc.... And, points for them ending with a 4:44 minute song...

I'm assuming that they, perhaps, made a conscious decision to ROCK more on this album, so I don't want to say they should stick with surreal/dreamy music, because I feel that they're competent in both styles. Yet, and this is mostly just because of my personal taste, I think they're a little stronger with THAT style, versus rockier/heavier music. Aubert's vocals are beautiful, in a raspy, nasally, whiny sort of way, and I love them... And, I think they might fit a little more with the dreamy music, but they're still a wonderful addition to the heavier side. All in all, this was deffinitely worth the two and a half years since Carnavas, and I'm very happy with it. I'm not sure if it was as Earth-Shattering as Starsailor's All the Plans, but... It's damn good.

New music 2009 continues, next time.... With >Ezra! Until then...... There'll be teasing snippets of in-progress Goo to tide me over! (Or not, if it all ends up vaguely reminding me of LLI.)
animate my body without my soul

Friday, April 10, 2009


Okay. So, this other Goober contacted me via PM over on Lucky Star. And, she's all on the topic of bromance - you know, that semi-new buzz word that over romanticizes deep, platonic love between dudes? Yeah, that affliction of, say, House and Wilson, JD and Turk, and Spongebob and Patrick, for example...

Well, wouldn't you know it, she PMs to discuss the Gooey bromance of Rzeznik and Takac, which I lazily, yet lovingly, refer to as: Rzezkac. (Doesn't that actually sound like it could be some random Polish/Hungarian surname...? Hell if I know.) And, well, I won't go into the specifics of the conversation, since I don't really have her permission to talk about it. However, I will say that it got me thinking.

This whole bromance thing is pretty new, right? I mean, it seems to be hitting its peak right around now, especially with I Love You, Man, but it's still relatively recent. As in, it wasn't a popular term, or may not have even existed, back in, say, 1998.

Why am I picking 1998?
Oh, why ever would I pick THAT year?...

The goober's PM got me thinking, because I realized that in my 12 years as a Goober, I never described Rzezkac as a bromance. Now, you could argue that I never did, because the term wasn't around. Sure, okay... But, see, here's the counter-argument to that: Even now, I don't describe Rzezkac as a bromance.

I call it what it is: love.
They're bestest buddies, pure and simple. They're like brothers, and they fight over stupid shit, but stand by each other through all the rain and all the sunshine, too. They gush on camera about how they couldn't do this without the other, and then, on the radio, they joke how they're just stuck with each other, like an old married couple that wouldn't stand a chance separately if they broke up.

That dynamic is partly what attracts me to the Dolls. It's not just the kickass music, the meaningful lyrics, or the good deeds they do: it's, literally, them. And, it goes beyond the two of them taken separately. It's more than how I was once an obzezzive, but I turned into a fanatak circa 2000; more than how they each have qualities that I idealize and pray to find in real mean; more than idolization (because I've moved beyond worshipping them).

It's them and their relationship. It, like other famous friendships (like Hawthorne and Melville's), just warms my heart. It really astounds me and makes me so happy, and hopeful, to see two people have such a wonderful connection with each other, especially in a world where I believe that, although we may seem so connected with each other, the technology that links us might do more harm than good in the long-run, as far as real relationships are concerned. (You can type your condolences to someone over AIM, and use all the emoticons you know, but it's never the same as holding someone when they're upset and making them feel better just by literally being there for them. That AIM conversation, or the exchange of Notes on f_book may seem real, but it's really superficial.)

And, yes, I'm aware of my hypocrisy, as I am fully aware that I'm typing all this out in a BLOG.

...Anyway, I haven't really responded to the other Goober. About what she's asking, I'm not quite sure. I thought I knew, but the more I think about it; I really don't, and it's not something that's been decided upon, let alone even discussed, within the fandom. And neither of us are brave enough to get the conversation started. Being an outcast wouldn't be fun.

Anyways, feel free to ignore all this whimsy: I just ramble about them, together or apart, sometimes. I can't help it; it's one of the things I really love about the band... Because, if it wasn't for that connection, that bond, there wouldn't be any by-products of it, like that amazing performance of Name from a few posts back: or this Black Balloon.

Their dedication to each other, their love, their... Bromance? (Sure, fine... What the hell, why not? Let's keep it timely...) It just... Makes me smile.
a thousand other boys could never reach you, how could i have been the one

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Same Harmonious Tune

Okay, so, back when the Dolls' Vol. II came out, I played it, and I was so happy with having the Iris demo on it, I had to share it with my parents. (Don't judge me... They're Goobers, too.) And, so my step-dad, who's the Takac-fan of the two, asks if R's signing with J during the demo at points. To this very second, I don't really know, but... Hell, y'all know me, I'm all for them singing together, so I assume they are and I tell him so. Then, to my shock, he tells me, "Yeah.... Wow, they cannot harmonize together."


My heart broke a little. Now, I know precisely SHIT about music and music theory etc.... But! I know what I like, and I like them together, all my gooey romanticism aside. (And, I meant that in a platonic sense.)

With that back-story fully in place, let me now tell a tale. So, I've kind of slipped away from Goo these last few days, as in I've been listening to a lot more other bands. Particularly, I've been playing the hell out of EC. In fact, I recently remembered that So Much for the Afterglow is their GF; i.e.: It's practically flawless.

Anyhow, today I've got my WinAmp on shuffle, as per usual, and I'm not really paying any heed to it. Yeah, sure, the Dolls are coming up every now and then, but it's stuff I've heard before -- Like, some performance of BB, or that January Friend from LiB... And, of course, there's other band's, too... And, I'm looking on-line for info about Thee Armada (they're writing for a full album!), and I'm updating my f_book, and checking on some people...

And, I guess I'm not really paying very good attention, because a performance of Name comes on. Now, let me explain for a second... Although I once decided (and semi-convinced another Goober) that Name's their best song, it's not a song I really... Play anymore, you know? I just don't think about it, because it's so ingrained into the fandom (for myself, definitely, and other Goobers, too, I'm sure), like Iris and Slide, etc.... I don't go out of my way to put it on, no matter what version/performance it is. (Honestly, I can't remember the last time I purposefully listened to either Name, or Slide... Iris, well, yeah...)

So, anyway... Name, performed live at the 1995 Summerfest is playing, and I hear that it's Name, and I just gloss over it, drift away back into what I'm doing. Then, out of nowhere, the song hits 2:42. And, well, it's like... Being brought back to life, or woken up after a long dreary nap, or...
It's like something mystical and beautiful just at the fringe of your periphery; just brilliant enough and alluring enough to catch your whole focus, and then, once you turn, maybe you catch a quick glimpse of the beautiful thing... then it's gone!

I'm talking about the moments at 2:42 and 2:56 where the bass infuses with the treble; where Takac's goose-bump-inspiring rumble is a sudden, yet unassuming and warm addition to Rzeznik's leading, that life's like a dream (so much so, that when I first heard it, I had to skip back a little to make sure I wasn't imagining anything...), and it's proved that, well...
They harmonize perfectly.

(Perfectly enough that I've been looping this performance for... God, I don't even know how long now.)

Or... At least they could. I have no idea, really, if they can now or not... Korel did a lot of Takac's backing on the LLI tour, and Rzeznik's voice has changed so... But, I like to dream that they still sound amazing together; as their partnership, their ability to be more together than they could ever be apart, is partly what attracts me to this band. (Amongst music, lyrics, general heart and soul, etc. ...And, yeah, y'all should know by now how much a romantic I am.)

So, if anyone in the Goo camp ever reads this blog... Please pass this thought along to either of The Two...

(I'd love y'all even more, and that's really saying something.)

In other news... Michael's birthday is tomorrow, and I got him a card. I hope he likes it. I see Stephen Lynch in less than a week, and Dad visited today. I got the 'drinking is bad' talk, which is fine with me.
i don't think i'll make it on my own

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

All the Plans

And, so I'm finally listening to Starsailor's new one, All the Plans. My God, you guys... I know some of y'all don't exactly care for them, but... I still have to gush. This album is fantastic. So far this year, it's the best I've heard, from anyone. Hell... It's great, period... I haven't been this moved since... God, I don't know... SSPU's Carnavas. And, that was a while ago.

If Goo can blow me away half as much as SS has this time around... It'll be fantastic!

So, without further adieu...

Artist: Starsailor
All the Plans, studio album
Release: 2009, Virgin

Song 1: Tell Me It's Not Over
Okay, this is definitely the single-song of the album. I like it. It's more pop-rocky than they usually are, so it's a nice change of pace. And, on another note: the video makes me think of the Dolls' video for
Stay With You.

Song 2: Boy In Waiting
Okay, this is much more like typical SS. It's a simple low-key song. Good, solid music, and it just lets James Walsh's voice soar and sway.

Song 3: The Thames
It sounds a little country-ish, and I'm digging it. Especially, wow, the opening lines: "Is love just a big mistake/a risk we all take/in order to keep the blues away?" This band is a lyric-focused band. Always have been, always will be, I think. Oh, and the chorus is a nice swing in tempo.

Song 4: All the Plans
Title-track time! This one's a little rock-ier than the last few. Like, I'm finally hearing, music-wise, what Rolling Stone heard when they called them Britain's GGD... I'm also feeling a little Powerdfinger-vibes, too. And, I'm all for it. And, as always, the lyrics are just honest and powerful. "I want to win your heart"- God, perfect. And, my God... There's harmonica!

Song 5: Neon Sky
Slowing down a bit... All right, understandable coming from the last track. Ooooh, Walsh is hitting some gorgeous high notes! I dig. Oh, the chorus!!!! Oh, wow... The backing just completes it.

Song 6: You Never Get What You Deserve
Another amazing track... It's just great. The lyrics? Fallen angels and shining stars... That's all I need to say. I love the use of piano, while it still rocks... And the re-occurring theme of plans.

Song 7: Hurts Too Much
The repeating piano notes.... It's got me hooked. And the lyrics are just sooooo powerful, and there's backing vocals again... And, it's like all the amazing elements of the album so far rolled into this one song. "You're looking for something you already know"...

Song 8: Stars and Stripes
I'm sensing some political thoughts here, and it's okay... In fact, as much as I don't like obviously-loaded songs, like this one, the music is a good enough groove for me to almost ignore the lyrics. Almost.

Song 9: Change My Mind
I'm still in love with bar-room feel to the majority of their piano this time around, as a whole. And, this song is just another great example. It's bluesy and wonderful, and the up and down of Welsh's voice is perfect for it. Take note of the breakdown mid-song.

Song 10: Listen Up
Why don't you listen.... Why don't you listen tooooo meeeeeeeee....
Oh, wrong band.
Anyhow. The music is fan-fucking-tastic this time around. The thudding constant beat is great, and the dreamy random chimes half-hidden in the background are an interesting touch. And, I love Walsh's vocals, but it's somehow brilliant how he's nearly-swallowed by the music in the chorus.
(and possibly my favorite track on the album.)

Song 11: Safe at Home
The deep notes that almost echo; love 'em. It's a real simple song, and his vocals are great -- a little less Walsh-ish than normal. The slow simplicity is a great way to finish off their best album to date.

Artist: Starsailor
Album: All the Plans, acoustic bonus disc
Release: 2009, Virgin

Song 1: Listen Up
WOAH, WOAH, WOAH. It's the same song, with alternate lyrics... And it's done a complete 180... It was hopeful, but now is love-centered and complex. And, once again, Walsh's voice seems a little subdued, insomuch that it can be.
"There's just something from your heart I just might not ever understand."

Song 2: Tell Me It's Not Over
This song is so much more powerful with the amps turned down.

Song 3: All the Plans
Walsh just sings so well... I mean, you love him or hate him... And, well, I clearly love him, and this is just a great example of his talent.

Song 4: Merry Go Round
I just went on about Walsh's voice... it's all th emore impressive when it's backed-up. And, those high notes? Woah.

Song 5: The Thames
This song is somehow sadder, and I didn't think it could be. Maybe it's the strings-like sound in the background that's all th emore apparent?

Song 6: Change My Mind
This is the only song I *almost* dislike as an acoustic... His vocal stylings in the middle of this version are a little jolting.

Song 7: Stars and Stripes
Still my least favorite song. It's less flattering acoustically.

Artist: Starsailor
Album: Boy In Waiting EP
Release: 2009, Virgin

Song 1: Boy In Waiting
Same as the album one.

Song 2: Do You Believe in Love
A little more rockin'. Everything grinds a little more on this one. I dig, and I can see how I might not have fit with the rest of the album.

Song 3: Black Limosuine
Same thing with this one... Except, not precisely bluesy, just harder rock (for them).

Song 4: Darling Be Home Soon
Pretty strings... Somewhat dreamy. And he used 'dawddled' and made it rhyme.

In other news, now that Tim Palmer's been announced as the producer for the new Goo album, I'm officially excited. That's right; I've broken my own spell of apathy (which was a defense mechanism) and I care again.
i wanna write the one that cuts just like it should

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life, the Universe and Everything

Okay. So, I got Amungus' '05 ambient piece, Life, the Universe and Everything earlier than I expected. That's because it was delivered here, to H-Town, whereas I thought it was going to be shipped to H-Ville. At first, this kind of sucked, because I had to explain to Mom that it only cost, like, ten bucks, as she went on to remind me that I'm a poor college student, etc...

But, then, things got better. I thought that, here, I wouldn't have the time to really sit and listen to it all. But, wait, you ask... You've done that with the Cure and Thursday, what's different this time around? Well, okay... I'll answer that, imaginary person.

See, this cd is a 42:42 ambient/mood piece that Amungus did to accompany (I'm assuming) Wendy Marvel's artwork, and others', at the '05 MiA/Rockin' at the Knox festival up in B_Lo. It's not just a collection of 12 or so songs, like the Cure and Thursday, and anything else I'll be listening to this year will be. It's one solid work, which means that to scribble about it properly, I'd have to be able to really listen to it -- all of it -- beforehand. I couldn't do what I did with the others and listen to a song here or there, if needed.

That explained; I'm on my fourth listen. I can't let it go.

And, no, I'm not the first Goober to talk about this. Rzeznik-Girl beat me to it, as she should have. And... I'm glad she did, because, as unintentional as I'm sure it is, she's giving me a springboard, as I'm not sure how to even start... So, here we go.

Okay, so Steph equated all of this to water, and I can totally see... Hear what she's getting at. She also suggested (and I might be misunderstanding...) that the purpose of this piece (accompanying artwork) might have effected its sound. I can see what she's meaning, if I'm understanding her. Though... I like to think that Schulmeister and Takac had these dreamscapes in their heads and were, perhaps, just waiting for a reason to unleash them; like this was just some nice coincidence. In the end, though, it doesn't really matter, as this can just be boiled down to a 'chicken vs. egg' debate.

What matters is the product, and this product is... Really amazing.

Before I do my best to try and tackle it, let me back up and explain something... I was a little iffy about their EP, as dance/elctronica/pop/club music is very hit or miss for me, and as y'all know I was pleasantly surprised. The Truth Is... kicked ass, and it's constantly in rotation in my car, as I loooooove Search Your Soul, Green Tea and Broken Love.

I'm re-hashing this to point out that... I assumed, going into LtUaE, that I'd like it. See, I'm one of those H-Town chicks who used to tune in every Saturday night at ten o'clock, to 88.7, the U of H station, in order to hear Hearts of Space, an hour-long, syndicated ambient program. I dig ambient music, even when it's just wtf-ish walls of sound. (All right, that, to an extent.) So, it was a safe bet that I'd like this piece.

And, I love it. I really, really do. I love how it reminds me of water, in all ways imagineable: floating in it, sinking in it, watching it rain, drip by drop, down and up; seeing it freeze over and shatter, or just feeling it run and trickle over you, or collect all stagnant in puddles. (And, no, that wasn't some half-assed refference to the Dolls' video for Real.) I also love how, on my fifth listen now, I still don't know where it'll go next. I thought I might have it down, but no! I don't. It's a dynamic piece...
...That I have no idea how to write about.

So... This is my solution... I can't go through it, minute by minute... So... Here are some highlights to this aqueous work. (all times are approximate, but you'll know it when you hear it.)

30 seconds and onward: Droplets... drip, dri-dri-drip, drip; a foundation, and it builds.

2 and a half minutes: breathing underwater (isn't that how long Yuna can hold her breath in FFx-2?...)

3 minutes and forty seconds: addition of piano-ish synth notes (y'all know I'm a sucker for piano... Hell, I love Slaughterhouse...)

4 minutes and forty-five seconds: little knife-like sound, like a sword being drawn

5 and a half minutes: everything's just building and becoming more complex

6 minutes and 11 seconds: HERE'S OUR MOTIF. (nice crackle-ing, too)

7 minutes and five seconds: more of that nice piano

8 minutes and forty seconds: that effectual sound of something being ripped away, like time slipping backwards

9 minutes and twenty seconds: it's all dies down; absoultely gorgeous

10 minutes and forty-five seconds: that deeper, wavering sounds that's thrown in

11 minutes and twenty-five seconds: see above, just uitlized more (omg, love it.)

12 minutes: those little metallic notes that seem to bounce around the space

12 minutes and 15 seconds: those mechanic/technological noises that seem static-y

13 minutes and thirty-two seconds: everything climaxes after a unique build

14 minutes and twenty-five seconds: more of that awesome wire-y, harder sound

15 minutes and eleven seconds: the motif comes back, to provide us with some ground

16 minutes and nine seconds: melody.

17 minutes and forty seconds: MORE PIANO!!!!!! and it's beautiful.

18 minutes and seventeen seconds: background noise that becomes prevalent, like something being spirited away

19 minutes and twenty-six seconds: everything's getting heavy again

20 minutes and twenty-two seconds: a hint of some structure, in the background, for those who might want it

20 minutes and forty seconds : there's our motif again, but disconnected... almost like it's under water

21 minutes and forty-four seconds: a small background noise that makes me think of a siren, a la Kill Bill, almost

23 minutes: things start to get a little sci-fi ish, and i'm all for it.

23 minutes and fifty-seven seconds: little soft twinkle of notes

25 minutes and ten seconds: still deep in sci-fi land

27 minutes and twenty-five seconds: our motif, in yet another form

30 minutes and twelve seconds: some more low melody, in the background

30 minutes and forty-six seconds: GREG FUCKING SURAN on guitar. that is all.

34 minutes and twenty seconds: it's all getting hard and heavy again

35 minutes: there's that motif, amidst the staic and grit

35 minutes and fifty-three seconds: piano added, like it's all coming together

38 minutes and forty-two seconds: it's all mixing in and out of each other, and there's some wind chimes

39 minutes and forty seconds: birds?... in the background, faintly?

40 minutes and twenty seconds: another breath? are we coming up for air? out of the water, and about to dry off?

41 minutes and on: everything's flickering in and out, like something fluttering, or dying

41 minutes and fifty-five seconds: wind

And, you should be blown away by then. (Oh, and it appears that I did a minute-by-minute anyway... Ooops. My bad... It's just that good, I guess.)

In other news: I saw Watchmen today, and I don't know what everyone's bitching about, but I thought it was excellent. Then again, I had no issues with V for Vendetta, either... And, it seems like people who were meh on that one are meh on this one, too. And, some people are bitching about Snyder directing, and I love what he did. Then again, I loved 300, too.... Hmmm, perhaps I have shitty taste.

Also, apparently the Dolls have picked a producer: Tim Palmer.
.....Fuck, I have been trying so hard NOT to be excited about this album, but now... FUCK, NOW I SO AM, OMG!!!!!! Just go check out what Palmer's helped with, and get back to me. You'll see what I'm dying over. (Hints: Kajagoogoo and Cure...)

Oh, and new music continues for me. Today I got Deluxe from >Ezra. I used to have a copy, but it up and went missing years ago. I also got Yellowcard's Lights and Sounds, and Cure's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me; because I need to work on building my discographies of, well, all three.

I'm hanging with Delmy tomorrow, and we might see the remake of Last House on the Left. Hooray for Spring Break.

Oh, and happy Friday 13th. Mine was wonderful. (Isn't this the second one we had in a row?)
i've been up all night writing books about heroes and crooks

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Common Existence

Okay. So, Spring Break continues tomorrow with a trip to the noodle house and then a venture down to Rave to see The Watchmen. I've heard up and down reviews, and I'm trying my best to be open minded, so y'all'll hear my thoughts later.

New Music 2009 continues! I just found out last night that Better than Ezra is going to drop an album this year, too. And, they'll be hitting up H-Town's House of Blues in June! I'm actually going to try to go... I've wanted to see them for a while, and this might be one of my last times for awhile, so...

Anyway. To continue with new music... Let's look at Thursday's fourth major label release, shall we?

Band: Thursday
Album: Common Existence
Release: 2009, Epitaph

Song 1: Resucitation of a Dead Man
Not to dis on Thursday, because I really like them, or anything, but... Man, is this song much more powerful WITHOUT a video accompanying it. Let me explain. This is the only song I'd heard before purchasing the album, and it was only because I saw the video, with an interview, on Fuse. Sure, it was really cool, and pretty... But... It somehow took away from the song. At least, it did for me. Anyhow... In auditory-only land, this song rocks, and it's a great opener.

Song 2: Last Call
Okay, digging the crazy drums. And, I love how it's about a wedding... About how we're all thinking about a last-second escape route at these things. It's a soft subject, hidden under such hard music.... I'm digging it.
Totally approve.

Song 3: As He Climbed the Dark Mountain
I dig lyrics that are rich in poetic devices. Like symbolism and metaphor... Like this song, that even questions itself as to what it all means. I like that, too... It's almost tongue-in-cheek, doing that, but everything's so powerful... It's utterly wrenching, and I'm in love with the fast-slow pacing...
Totally approve.

Song 4: Friends in the Armed Forces
Meh....... I don't dig the subject matter, but the music's pretty rockin'; I really like the sound so... I could totally let this play if I just put the whole album on, you know, and kind of fade out on the lyrics... However, I wouldn't single this one out, you know?
Not quite so much approval.

Song 5: Beyond the Visible Spectrum
What is it with this band and the song names? A little EB-ish... Though.... EB came out after..... Uhm, anyway... The vocals are a little too swallowed during some of it, but it works out well, in the end. Geoff Rickly's vocals are soaring in this one, and carrying me away, and I'm all for it.
Totally approve.

Song 6: Time's Arrow
I fucking love this one. That. Is. All. (Take notice of the backwards theme manifested by the sound effects mid-song.)

Song 7: Unintended Long Term Effects
For some reason, the start of this makes me think of RHCP's "Can't Stop"..... Anyway, after that slowed-down time-trip, we jump back into what Thursday does best: delivering well thought out lyrics in the midst of hard and fast alt. rock. It rocks, and it's quick; clocking in at barely over two minutes.

Song 8: Circuits of Fever
I'm loving the siren-ish guitars. Of course, Rickly's delivering spot-on vocals, as he always does. And, this time around... They're a little softer, a little whisper-y, and it totally works. The music break is good, and then elongated wail is nice, with 2 minutes to go. And, then we switch to the yelling, and then there's some cool twinkle-y effects, and it all works.

Song 9: Subway Funeral
Eight leads directly into nine, and that's cool. There seems to be a little more bass, or the bass is... Singled out some, and I'm all for that. (gee, really?) The bass is what's keeping me going this time, because... I'm not quite feeling this one. Oh, well. It'll play if I play the whole thing.
Meh approval.

Song 10: Love Has Led Us Astray
Starting out very low-key? Okay. I dig. I'm also digging the simplicity and relative quietness. It's just cool for them to prove they can turn down the energy, and still succeed. It's also a good chance for Rickly to show off just how well he sings. The filters and effects on him are also a nice, poignant touch. The upswell in the end is also a nice climax.
Totally approve.

Song 11: You Were the Cancer
Ok.... Starting out really slow.... Oh, some whispers/spoken lyrics? Okay, I'm following. And, then, some killer guitar jumps in, and I'm hooked, not to mention the nezt layering and effects they use. Hell, how can I not be hooked with a title like this? ...And, to sum it up, this is just another good solid Thursday effort. Great way to end the album: making me want more.
Totally approve.

Final thoughts? Once again.... Just like the Cure.... This album, I'd say, surpasses Thursday's last effort. And, A City by the Light Divided, was good, too.... I'm just enjoying this one more, and I can't wait to see what they do next!
the clocks turn back in retreat

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

4:13 Dream

Okay. So, I spent the last day and a half with Dad, and it was a good visit. He got a new couch, so I don't have to sleep on an air mattress anymore! It's brown, and courdoroy-ish. (My spelling suck, etc.) We wanted to go see The Reader, but time wasn't on our side. Oh, well.

In other news... It seems like the trip to San Antonio has been cancelled, due to rain. Oh, well; no Alamo this year. Maybe next. It's not a big deal. There's some other things I can do to get my field trip credit for my Crossroads course, so... It'll all work out. I just wanted to go.

So, let's move on to the poi- Oh, wait.... Let's continue with listing off all the bands who have had, or will, or maybe will have albums drop this year: Silversun Pickups, Thursday, Starsailor, Dave Matthews Band, Chevelle, Default, Chris Cornell, Third Eye Blind, Evans Blue, Blue October, Weezer, Incubus, Goo Goo Dolls, Our Lady Peace, Lifehouse, The Fray, and Aerosmith.
I'm sure there's more.

Anyhow, now to the point. I don't know how this happened, but... Last Fall, I completely forgot to pick up the new album from the Cure. I know! I can't believe myself, either. And, it's funny, because I remember knowing about it... Knowing how they were making a big deal out of systematically releasing singles up until the drop-date... And, yet... I completely flaked when the time came. (If I pull this shit with, say, 3EB... Someone remind me, okay?)

Well, I've made up for lost time by finally getting it today, along with the amungus album I was missing (life, the universe, and everything), and the latest from Thursday, Common Existence. So, what does that mean? IT MEANS IT'S REVIEW TIME!!!

Artist: The Cure
Album: 4:13 Dream
Release: 2008, Geffen Records

Song 1: Underneath the Stars
4:13 opens with a six-minute lead-in, and it's a harken back to the Cure we all know and love. The music is moody and entrancing. There's heavy, emotive guitars, and Cure-ish windchimes. Then there's some drums, but not too many, and that's only when we're getting to the two-minute mark, perhaps to wake you up. After which, Robert Smith's voice... That angelic, tortured, whiney, painful swell of auditorial emotion... Rumbles in from beneath distortion and echoes that you'd expect from Cure. It perfects the mood of sinking into a comforting abyss, with those chimes acting as a lifeline, keeping you grounded so you don't go careening off into the darkness of entrenching love.
I love this opening... This opening, that you'd expect to be a closing.
I greatly approve.

Song 2: The Only One
Oooh! This is upbeat! It's an about-face from u_t_Stars, that's for sure. In more ways than one, in fact. Sure, it's upbeat, and full of happy synthesized noises, but the lyrics are also a change... To a point. Because, yes, this is another song about love. How could it not be? This is the Cure! Anyhow... Where the previous was all about the power of heart-wrenching love, how it soothes and hypnotizes and holds you down... This one is how falling in love will lift you up...
How it's all "like a dream". ...I'm getting Mint Car vibes, personally.
Totally approve.

Song 3: The Reasons Why
So, I'm expecting another song about love. Why not, right? But, Smith throws me a curve, with the opening line: "I won't try to bring you down about my suicide." ...All right, okay. We're delving into the moody Cure. I'm ready!
The beat's kick ass. Before he even starts singing, and I'm thrown, I'm already nodding along. There's low guitars and bass to drive the beat, with some simple drumming, and there's those chimes! Always there, adding a bit of the ethereal. Smith's voice drawls wonderfully on the titular lines, and swells and rises over the low music throughout.
The lyrics are wonderful, and I sense a theme... "I'm falling through the stars," he confesses, and I'm falling, too. Three songs in, and this album is kick the last's ass. Hands down.
Greatly approve.
(p.s. to my Goober friends: This makes me think of that story about Rzeznik phoning Takac in the middle of the night, all guilt-ridden and neurotic...)

Song 4: Freakshow
You know... I should have known that this streak of awesome wouldn't last for the whole album. Granted, the lyrics are interesting, but it's just too pop-y for me... I'm not feeling this one. Oh, well. At least it's only 2 and a half minutes.
Don't approve.

Song 5: Siren Song
Do I hear the distorted twangs of country mixing with the typical keyboards of the Cure? Yeah, yeah I do. Add to that interesting mix Smith singing a tale of a beautiful girl putting him under som spell, and mix it all together with a distorted chorus that folds in and under itself, and you've got this one all wrapped up.
I approve.

Song 6: The Real Snow White
I've got you want? Really, Smith, do I? Nice way of opening with a clear invocation; I dig it. I also dig the use of the typical dreamy groove that accompanies most of their work. And, I'm totally loving how the vocals are falling in and out of being swallowed by that groove. It's interesting: I want to listen to the words, but I get too caught in with the music, and just when I start to close my eyes and get caught up in the notes, I'm back hanging on each and every one of Smith's lyrics. Fantastic.
I greatly approve.

Song 7: The Hungry Ghost
Hmmmmmmm. I can't believe I'm saying this, but, musically...? The first minute, at least, makes me think of a whole other band... Like, maybe something Rzeznik would do. No joke. Then the distorted synths kick in, and the elongated, drowning vocals, and it's straight back to Cure-land, and I'm all good with it. I love their synth work, always have. It's really easy to snap along with this one. And, don't ask me what the title means: I have no idea... Just enjoy it, get lost in the piercing guitars, and the haunting sounds.
I greatly approve.

Song 8: Switch
....It's a switch, indeed. The guitars are more distorted, and the tempo's picked up. It's almost a little too grainy for my ears, and Smith's vocals are a little too quick for me to really dig. But, there's still some bass in there to keep the toes sort of tapping. Sort of. For this one, I think they may be should have kept it without vocals... They get too lost in everything else.
Don't really approve.

Song 9: The Perfect Boy
Oooh, I like these lyrics painting a literal-dream romance. I love this... This one's a little simpler in the music department, but the vocals wonderfully swoon and expand in just the right places, "on the edge[s] of beautiful thing[s]." And, everything quiets, slows, and dives right back in, for the right amount of effect, the set-up for an abrupt end.
I greatly approve.

Song 10: This. Here and Now. With You
A few whispers, and we're off into ambient, typical Cure-music. Then back into the fast delivery of vocals, but it totally works this time, as the music sounds so under water. It's hard to understand Smith on this one, but it still sort of works when everything gets louder and more complex, until it dies down as he breathes the titular lines. From then on out, it's a little easier to access, for the better, I think. Still digging the under water feel.
I approve.

Song 11: Sleep When I'm Dead
More vocal effects... Up-tempo groove, almost dance-ish. I'm wondering how this will balance with the seemingly heavy lyrics. It's a sort of failure. I think there's a major thematic point to the lyrics, but the vocals are buried, so you'd have to read 'em to see what Smith has to say. In fact, I'm going to just read it later ans skip the rest of it now.
Not really approving.

Song 12: The Scream
Barely audible lyrics start us off. Okay. I can dig it. Heavy distorted synth noises, as per usual. All right. Pained, echoing, disconnected lyrics. Check. The vocal delivery is too sparse to keep my interest, and the music is oddly unpleasing this time around, and I find myself not really caring where the song goes.......... Until.......... 2 minutes in.... A long not drawn out, a pause, and then a dive back into it all... And, it's too much of an attempt to save it, so... No.
Do not approve.

Song 13: It's Over
Well, it starts out like a rock song. Like... Like what I'd expect and opening song to sound like. (I see what y'all did there, Cure.) Over a minute in and there's no vocals... I think this one might be the instrumental of the track... With some faint background wails. Nope, almost two minutes in and there's a little more from Smith... But, not enough. Okay, this is... Oh! There it is. Now we've got lyrics. And, I'd complain that it's too late, but the music was rocking enough to keep me interested, so now I wanna hear all of it, all the way through to the end. Rock on, Cure.
I totally approve.

All right. Ending thoughts? I like this album much, much better than their last self-titled release... That one was actually quite disappointing, imo. (Seriously, only two songs stick out in my mind from that one... "End of the World" and "Before Three"...) So, this one is a kickass reminder that the Cure can rock as much and as well as they can emote.

Expect amungus and Thursday to be reviewed soon.
you'll lose the need of certainty, and make-believe eternity to find the true reality in beautiful infinity