Thursday, September 25, 2008

A is for Albums

I've put this off for a while, but for good reason. I recently got a new hard drive to hold all of my music, which is great and solves a problem I was getting close to facing of running out of room to support all of the music I'm always getting (I'm constantly getting more, it's sad in many ways). Long story short I got a new one, but the price that had to pay was listening time. This required me to transfer all of my music from my old hard drive onto this new gigantic one, followed by deleting all of my music out of iTunes and then reimporting it. All of those albums take a while to load and figuring out the gapless playback rates, whatever the hell that means, so that basically took a lot of time out of listening. But I'm back and have listened to some stuff since, so that will follow.

I'm going to try and keep my descriptions only as long as they need, I've noticed from blogs that I've read that if something is too long I usually don't read it anyways, so I'll try to keep it a little short and sweeter from now on.

Nobody has given me any real feedback on it yet, so I'm basically just winging it still.

ABBA - Arrival
ABBA - Ring Ring

More pretty fun Sweedish 70s pop. They're harmless and fun, and I would argue that Arrival is the best they're probably going to get. Has most of their hits on it and is the most fun, but lack anything to really make an album whole, just a lot of random fun songs.

Acid House Kings - Monaco GP

Another surprising fun one. Acid House Kings are the best thing I've discovered from doing this that I probably would continue to have looked over otherwise.

Aerosmith - Aerosmith
Aerosmith - Done With Mirrors

I once read a good analogy about Aerosmith, I forget what it was comparing it to, but it was along the lines of like of comparing some band and then saying "as Aerosmith is to The Rolling Stones." And it couldn't be more true. Aerosmith wants to be this hard rock band so bad but they're really tame and actually really safe if anything, especially nowadays. This is some of their older stuff. I don't remember a single song from Done With Mirrors, and the self-titled album had a horrible song called "Walking The Dog" on it, just garbage. Aerosmith have a greatest hits that is probably okay at best, but they just don't really know what to do. Joe Perry is talented enough, Steven Tyler can't decide what voice he wants to use, it's just all really odd.

Aesop Rock - Bazooka Tooth

He's got mad skillz, I just don't like his voice that much. The production is really lo-fi too and he doesn't really have any hooks, which I hate to say I'm old-fashioned, but I like my rap to have a good hook.

Aimee Mann -Bachelor No. 2 or, The Last Remains of the Dodo

I know why I have Aimee Mann. I love Magnolia. Most of the songs on here are from that. She's fun, has a cool voice and a good sound. I think it's catchy and good enough, doesn't really do much but acts as a good background music to have if you're sad about a relationship.

Air - Everybody Hertz

Don't Be Light is one of the best songs of it's type ever. That being said, I don't need 18 remixes of it, let alone boring ones at that. The other songs on here I don't even remember.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

In honor of seeing Spoon at the Fillmore last night I'll write a little about this gem of an album. What fun it is to listen to Spoon reinvent themselves from album to album. Each one is a new experience, a new toy they're playing with that is utilized so well into their already very original indie-alt-country-rock-esque sound. This one stands out as one of their finest based on the fact that the songs are about a little bit more than before, none of the songs are lulls in the album at all but some are just a little dormant. But the slow songs add a nice moody counterpiece to the rest of the album, like "The Ghost of You Lingers." But every song is a real winner here, like "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," "The Underdog," "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case," "Black Like Me." There is nothing wrong with the album at all, and their sound continues to expand. Can't go wrong with Spoon ever as far as I'm concerned.

Estelle - Shine

Estelle is a British Rapper/R&B Singer. I'd go more with R&B, but she does have some more funky songs on here. It's a fun little debut album that isn't as solid as, say, John Legend's stuff (I say that only because he helped produce the album), but you can see nothing but potential with the girl. "American Boy" is the little Summer Hit of the Year, and her voice brings a fresh twist to the typical female R&B Singer of these days that simply either belts out everything or whispers in a husky voice the words that mean nothing, whereas Estelle actually has songs that play with these conventions and are more fun.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm going to have to come up with clever titles with A in them

Here comes some more, party people. Big props go to Kyle for pointing out that ADULT. got a 6. from Pitchfork, which really makes me wonder why I have them in the first place. Do they have another album that is more acclaimed, to Rolling Stone orgasm all over them, were they opening for someone I was thinking of seeing? Whatever it is it's basically lame.

Al Green - Al Green's Greatest Hits

All right, supposed to be considered one of the greatest hits compilations ever, right? Sold millions of copies and one of the best representations of one of America's greatest singers ever, right? Well, it is, but after you start listening to it you realize that a lot of his songs follow this similar pattern, but in a good way. That's not to say that this is a bad album by any means, but it definitely sounds like one fluid album wherein I could listen to any of Al Green's songs and they would kind of all sound the same with this funk backing them up and his very great squeaky vocals that sound like if Lil Wayne was a crooner he would sing like this. Great great stuff, and we all have heard him before, so it's worth listening to. I'm reluctant when I get to the rest of his stuff, but always a great starting point.

Akron/Family - Akron Family

One of the earlier things I listened to before knowing I would start this blog, but I can't remember any of it. If I remember correctly it was moody and all right, but just didn't blow me away. I think I accidentally listened to the same track a couple of times without knowing it, which is a testament to how much the album all sounds the same. So we'll see what's in store.

Aliens - Astronomy For Dogs

The only reason I have this album is because it was the same band after The Beta Band broke up. And I haven't listened to any of them but have heard they're good, so of course I have this. I remember it being kind of catchy in certain parts and then being way too proggy for my tastes in others, so it's stuck in the middle. On one hand some of the songs were incredibly catchy in parts and had great ideas, and in other parts they just kind of went nowhere or I didn't even know where I was starting from.

Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

So here's my first album that is a major break from the Letter A obviously, and quite a good one at that. I might be the last person to finally listen to the whole thing, but it's quite good. Might be the best rap album to come out this year. I was never a real big fan of Lil Wayne before, don't know what his other major songs are and didn't really like his flow and especially his voice. His singing is the equivalent of Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, not what you'd expect at first and the hype kinda underwhelms the actual thing, but once listening it's actually quite a breath of fresh air in many ways. A lot of the songs are a lot more than the basic hoes and bros and guns and whatnot, more about emotions and what rap music is about and having good flow. And Lil Wayne's rhymes are some of the best I've heard in a while, making him a major force in the world of Rap especially when it's filled with so many imitators and boring guys that it's good to hear him. Standout tracks are the Summer-Hit "Lollipop," along with "A Milli" and anything on the album with Carter in the title. It's a really impressive album, and I didn't like Lil Wayne before, my only real knowledge of him before on the bad half of Kanye West's Graduation on "Barry Bonds." Lil Wayne is on a roll, I'm excited to get into his back catalog and see what he's done before, I'm sure there are a lot of gems in there that I'm excited to listen to. And he has a million bootlegs so we'll see which ones of those I notice, but he's got solid stuff so it will be fun.

I haven't even scratched the surface of my collection yet. We're not even to te AT bands yet for crying out loud, and I still have some back catalog of AC/DC to get through, so there's more of this to come. Hope people are enjoying it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More of A

I feel like I owe some explanation as to what this blog will entail, so let me go on further in this, my second infamous post.

The rules of this music-listening venture of mine goes as follows:

* I will post as often as possible after some progress has been made. Meaning an album has been listened to in its entirety, or a few at that. If there isn't enough to say about a single album then I'll probably wait till I listen to more before posting about it.

* Obviously I'm always adding more music, so the problem of what to do about music getting added comes up. Simple solution: When new music is added, I will go back to that letter in the alphabet and listen to the albums that haven't been listened to before moving on at whichever place I'm at in the list. So if I'm listening to Nada/Surf but get some new ABBA album, I have to go back and listen and write about that ABBA album before continuing with the Nada/Surf collection. This will get trickier as I get near the end, seeing as I've already added more stuff from before where I last posted.

* I get really bored listening to the same band over and over again so expect albums to be jazzed up by me writing about stuff way down the list just for the sake of trying something different. I have to listen to stuff that is recommended to me, so the best way I do this is I try to listen to 2 or 3 albums in the correct list and then reward myself for getting through all of that with a fresh album. So expect a Lil Wayne Album to come up soon even though I still have a long way to go before finishing the A's.

On another note, I'll post my grand total for how much music I have soon because I would like to chronicle with this knowing how much music I started with and how much I'll end with. I should be getting a new hard drive soon to hold all of this new music, so that will be quite an endeavor transferring it all over. But the music listening will continue. Any other suggestions about how to make this more interesting or anything people might like please comment and tell me what you like. I'm really just winging this and doing it for myself right now, don't know if anyone else even likes this crazy idea.

And with that, here's some more music I've gotten through:

Acid House Kings - Advantage Acid House Kings

I was expecting this to be nothing but synthy-long songs that would go on forever with no real motive or meaning and take forever to listen to. What I was surprised by was how Shins-like the music was, withthe singing of Belle & Sebastian to back it up. I don’t know what got me to get these guys’ albums in the first place. Anyone reading this will learn later on that there is usually a motive for why I get an album by a band, being that they’re opening for somebody else that I’m seeing live, someone recommended it to me or I read about it somewhere. But this band I distinctly don’t remember where it came from. I think I saw them on my friend’s computer and took a few, and then just finished off the rest of the discography. As another note, I usually like having all of a band’s albums, not just a few. So even if I hate the band immensely, I’ll probably get all of their LPs. EPs and other things are negotiable, depends if I just happen to stumble across it or I really like the band, but most of the time it’s just for bands I really like. To sum up this one, I was pleasantly surprised by it and enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the Acid House Kings’ albums.

Ace of Base – The Ultimate Collection

Ace of Base aren’t really as bad as one would think. I mean, they suck and all, but their pop songs are still pretty fun today, with “The Sign” and “All That She Wants” being their main standouts. A lot of their stuff just sounds the same or doesn’t really have much depth, but besides the point it’s harmless fun that isn’t hard to listen to and digest. This ultimate collection is I think supposed to be both of their full albums and a bunch of remixes. So I’ve listened to all the Ace of Base I can handle. That should be enough for anyone.

ADULT. - Why Bother?

What a boring album. I dont' even remember listening to this really, all that it was the kinda crazy weird music that I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of because Pitchfork recommended it and I felt like downloading it. I forget that for every 1 great album that Pitchfork recommends that I actually get into, 10 albums are going to be basically weird new wave-y stuff that is just sounds and then another 3 albums will probably be reissues of stuff that they orgasm for only now because it's gone. So we'll see if that has any effects on the music I listen to on here, but I'm pretty sure it was recommended by them and hence why I have it. I find it more interesting to write about how I got this album than what it was actually about, so that's a testament to how boring I found this album. Nothing really catchy or entrancing about it, just sounds.

The Advantage - Elf-Titled

There's somed inherent charm to The Advantage. They have good music to back them up already because they're choosing from a nice selection of old NES video game songs that not only makes me nostalgic while listening to them but also gives them really good starting music, those songs are very catchy and were okay to have repeated over and over again as you played through a level, so it's no wonder that they translate well to a full-piece band. That being said that is also the reason why The Advantage only goes so far. When you're working with that music, you're limited to the repitition and the song selection, and some of them are odd ones, but all very catchy regardless of being a gamer or not. Some do great, like Duck Tails - Moon Level and any of the Castelvania stuff, but the other stuff on here is, while interesting to listen to their arrangement of it, just so-so. I'm most impressed with the Drummer here, also of Hella, because he is stuck with the task of creating a beat to what are basically drum-less songs while still giving the songs an old-feel to them, and he does it superbly. I find the drumming to be the most impressive part about the album because it adds the new dimension that such basic music needs. On a whole, a great concept and an interesting band, but more must be done with the old NES tunes than simply covers.

Aereogramme - A Story In White

Dear God I don't even remember what this was but I remember it being boring. I don't know why I have all of Aereogramme's album but I do apparently, and after this first one I'm not looking forward to trudging through the rest. Again, more of the experimental weird songs that I think I'm going to find a lot of and just have to get used to. Although maybe this experience will lead me to a new appreciation of the music when I've made it through. Time will tell. But I can tell good experimental different synth music from bad, and this album was just boring for me, verging on trying to be Radiohead early years and late years at the same time, but just trying to be Radiohead this day and age is a really bad move (I'm looking at you Stereophonics/Travis/Coldplay/OneRepublic/Dear God the list goes on). I got all their albums, so we'll see how the rest go.

Akon - Konvicted (Deluxe Edition)

Akon is an interesting rapper. He has guested on some really great stuff and has some so-so hits to his arsenal, but I don't believe this guys' thug reputation for a second on the album. It's gotten so dull hearing that in rap albums and them having to represent and prove it, it's kind of like steroid use in sports. If you talk about being a dealer/doing time/whatever illegal things, then you better really be it, otherwise when you get called out you'll be a phony and your songs really lack any base to them. I never believe Akon was a real Konvict or anything judging by the choice of dress he wears but also because I read he wasn't later on, whereas Jay-Z has done time along with other rappers, but why must they pretend they've lived such hard lives? Can't they just rap about things other than that and create that persona, or, OR, probably a great idea, just create a persona that has done time and sing it that way? Rappers create alter-egos more often than Schizophrenic people, so it would make sense to do so, but who knows. They have to be thug. But back to the music at point, which is what this is really about, Akon lacks a great flow to his raps. Some of his songs are nice and catchy, particularly the radio-friendly "Don't Matter," but his style really gets on my nerves after a couple of times in his faux-Jamaican slur and his rhyme patterns don't really add much. He only has two albums thankfully so this won't take long, but he needs to stick to his guest spots more often and figure out what he wants to be before taking on another full album full of boring songs saying "Konvict Music" over and over again.

That's all for now. I'll be writing more shortly, always listening to more music!