Caribou

Caribou - AndorraCaribou is the brainchild of Daniel Snaith. Andorra is his latest release in 2007. His music has a sound to it most similar to 60’s and early 70’s pop music, but with a weird kind of trippy twist. It’s hard to describe. My usual player that I would have on the right side isn’t there because the album isn’t available on Lala yet, blast! You can preview the album on Amazon by clicking here, or on iTunes here.

I saw Caribou live in Orlando at The Social in 2008, and they were fantastic. They perform with two drum sets on stage. At times when the songs built up progressively, Snaith, sat down at the second drum set, got all ready, and then unleashed on the drums in concert with the main drummer. I’m not sure who that was, because Snaith records the albums in his studio by himself, then tours with a band.

Anyway, the album is incredible, and most likely different than any you may have heard before. Check it out at those links above, and watch these videos.

First is the album’s opening track, Melody Day. This one has a real strong 60’s pop feel to it. Speaking of melody, you may notice that he recorded his vocals on the same pitch four times I believe. That gives it a cool feel.

Next is Irene, the second-to-last track on the album. This one has a kind of low-battery-Walkman sound to it with the pitch wavering a bit. The synthesized drum beat and quiet vocals give the song a real light breezy feel that often sends chills down my back.

And here is the final track, Niobe. The album gradually escapes anything normal, and ends on this track. I love it. I can’t quite put my finger on why it is so great. The best activity to do during this song is spacing out I believe.

Now, if you’re still with me, and find yourself loving this music, like I do, here is a bonus little mini documentary. Daniel talks about some of his inspiration and recording methods for the album. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Gabby La La

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Here’s a weird one for ya! Lately I’ve been listening to Gabby La La‘s album, Be Careful What You Wish For. At first listen, or even glimpse, one might be quick to think that she is just a strange person who sings kids songs or something. I’d argue she’s much different than what you may first think. So go ahead, click play over there, and have a listen as you read this.

I first heard of Gabby when I saw her open for Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains. She was a solo act, and performed with her sitar, theramin, loop machine, and accordion. Her tunes and beats were very original, and in her huge pink wig and large sunglasses, I found her very intriguing. She’s got a style all her own, and is a very talented musician. She sings in a real high voice, which fits right in with her quirky little songs. After her portion of the show, she joined in with Les Claypool, Buckethead, Brain, and Bernie Worrell and was part of the band for the rest of the show.

Be Careful What You Wish ForSome of the songs you may quickly find yourself tapping your foot to are Backpack, Butter and Eggs (see video below), and Be Careful What You Wish For. The album demonstrates her wide variety of musical talent. Golden Flea is heavy on the sitar, which she plays incredibly in live shows.

So check out her stuff, I think some of you will really like it, I do! Now for some videos.

First, we have a live performance in her home town of Petaluma, CA. She is playing Butter and Eggs. You will see how well she performs and isn’t afraid to do weird things to get the audience involved, like making chicken noises.

And this next one is a really well made music video. I’m not sure if it’s the official video, or even who made it, but the song is Elf.

The Whitest Boy Alive

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Erlend Øye is a unique looking guy from Norway with bouncy, red, curly hair and usually prominent glasses. He actually looks like he could be a twin brother of a friend of mine, which I find pretty strange, since he’s such a peculiar looking fellow. But that’s neither here nor there.

Erlend is the talent behind the band known as The Whitest Boy Alive. He also has put out solo work and has another band called Kings of Convenience. More on those at a later date. His style of music is generally similar throughout – good mellow beats with kind of a light-hearted groove.

I’ve recently put these albums on for background music during games of Rummikub and some other group card/board games. It seems to ease the tension of games that are otherwise likely to start a feud or two. As you are hopefully hearing right now, Dreams, the 2006 release of theirs, has some great toe-tapping beats in it. Burning is the song that, I believe, has received the most exposure on the album. The songs have a great flow to them and I’d bet it would be hard to find somebody who can be in a sour mood while listening to this music.

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The 2009 release of The Whitest Boy Alive is entitled Rules, sticking with the simple one-word album title. It’s more of the same type of sound. Intentions is probably my top track at the moment from this one. It’s got that synthesized vibraphone sound to it that just makes you want to do some tiny dance moves while sitting in a chair.

High On the Heels has an almost disco like feel to it. I guess you could say that about quite a few of the songs. The staccato keyboard style provides great melody and percussion. It’s simple, but just great to listen to I think.

Hopefully you’ll find his music as soothing and mood-lifting as I do. As usual, those links under the players there will take you to Amazon and iTunes to check it out. Thanks again Sweden!

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

This is my review for Embryonic. To start you off, here is the flash player from the Lips’ website. Go ahead, rub the fur, and start listening to audible candy.

The latest album by The Flaming Lips, called Embryonic, is everything I was hoping for and more. The first six tracks are good Lips style rock with a couple mild tracks in there. It’s a great start. Then comes track seven, Gemini Syringes. This is where I feel the album cranks up the awesome dial. It’s a great transition song from the first part of the album to the remainder. From here on out, turn up the volume to 11.

The sounds from here on out remind me of some of Pink Floyd’s early departure from their original not-quite-pop sounding stuff. Listen to A Saucerful of Secrets and you’ll hear what I mean.

This is The Flaming Lips at their very best. My favorite tracks to play at near eardrum blowing volume are The Ego’s Last Stand and Worm Mountain. Give the fur a rub to check those ones out!

It’s a great album, and to end it off, here’s Wayne Coyne talking about all the packaging options.

The Black Heart Procession – 1, 2 & 3

The Black Heart Procession is one of my favorite totally unique sounding bands. I’d classify the genre as dark piano rock.

1

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Here to the right you may listen to their first LP, 1, which was released in 1997. It starts off pretty quietly with a recurring track called The Waiter. Their first three albums, named by numeric order of their release, have a total of 3 tracks called The Waiter. They serve as a kind of mood setting track, each with some variations.

On 1, things really pick up with track 3, Release My Heart. This is the first song in the albums that really give you the full feel of their music. Good piano, some organ, a slow strong beat, and dark lyrics focusing on the heart, and rightly so, considering the band’s name.

The Black Heart Procession - 1Track 7, The Winter My Heart Froze, has a great creepy mixture of organ and piano. It’s short at just under a minute, but a great one to crank up. Square Heart is one of my favorite tracks of theirs. Again, it has a slow, strong beat, great piano, and plenty of heart talk.

2

On to their second album, 2, which you can sample along with their third album, 3 in this nifty little Amazon player. Lala.com didn’t have those albums available at the time of posting, sorry about that.

2 starts with the second The Waiter track, then hits you in the ears with a great accordion track entitled Blue Tears. This is a great song with just an accordion, light acoustic guitar, organ and vocals. It’s a great ballad of heart break full of blue tears falling from lonely eyes. Tobias Nathaniel is, I believe, the lead singer, and he really gets into it here. I’m not sure if he’s half joking, but I love how he just lets it go on this one.

Track 3, A Light So Dim, has a great mix of, yet again, a slow and powerful drum beat mixed with a very strong piano part and a great lyrics line that repeats Time is all we have, so take the time to make the time… and so on. Turn this one up loud.

The Black Heart Procession - 2
It’s a bit quiet from here on with some great acoustic guitar and a general dark feel. Then comes track 8, It’s a Crime I Never Told You About the Diamonds in Your Eyes. I can’t think of many songs with a greater title than that. It’s a full on upbeat (for them at least) song that really picks the pace of the album up a notch. After this one, things seem to start falling apart (mood wise) with My Heart Might Stop. Beneath the Ground brings in some new sounds that, believe it or not, sound awesome at a high volume. The third installment of The Waiter finishes this one off and leads us on to the third full studio album.

3

The Black Heart Procession - 3Something I love about these albums is that they stick to the same general feel and even some very similar melodies, but keep it different enough to really separate each album from the others; genius. I love the opening track on 3, We Always Knew. Great organ, piano, and strong vocals. You’ll notice a little distorted sound slip in there a few times along with a rusty swing set sound, that first showed up on 2.

Most of 3 is slower and kind of has a feeling that the main character, if you will, in the story has given up on his lost love. I may be weird in that when I am depressed, I really get into listening to dark, depressing music. These three albums are great for those times. I won’t go into too much details about 3 because I feel I should leave a bit for you to discover on your own. Really though, you should listen to these three albums, I see them as a must have.

Pink Floyd – The Wall

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Is there anybody out there? It’s time to review one of the greatest albums of all time; The Wall by Pink Floyd.

I’ve listened to this many times through, and every time it pulls me through a pretty good range of feelings and moods. It’s one of the few albums with lyrics that my brain pays attention to. The theme of the album is of course the fictional character, Pink, who represents the feelings of being rock stars that the band (mostly Roger Waters) began to get after some time in the spotlight. It’s a pretty good emotional journey through something that can relate to life experiences that many people have gone through. If you want a full visualization of all that, watch the movie, aptly titled The Wall. Good stuff.

So, on to the music. I really can’t put into words how complete and wonderful it all is. I especially begin to get into the album when Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1 comes on at the third track. The mellow, somewhat dark version of the recurring guitar riff is introduced here and sets the mood for the ensuing journey into Pink’s mind.

The WallThe next few tracks are kind of the end of being out in the public and dealing with the pain Pink feels from authoritative figures and mobbing fans. After that comes what may be called the departure track. It’s also the motivation for the name of this blog! How about that! Goodbye Blue Sky is a beautiful guitar and vocal piece that turns from happy to dark and back again. And who doesn’t love the “Look Mummy! There’s a little plane up in the sky.” Pretty good innocence to pain feel there.

From here on out, Pink’s journey into building a wall between him and all his problems brings us some real good music and some fantastic lyrics. A favorite between me and my Dad is “I have amazing powers of observation.”

Then of course we have what I, and many others, hold as possibly the greatest song of all time, Comfortably Numb. If you have never heard this song performed live and you are a music fan, I urge you to go see a Pink Floyd tribute show. They happen all over, the best is The Australian Pink Floyd Show. I think I’ve heard it performed live four times now, and each time my mind gets blown. It really is musical perfection. Few guitar players can match David Gilmour’s brilliance on the guitar solo, but there are some real talented performers out there who do a stellar job trying to come close.

After Comfortably Numb are some tracks where Pink’s world is about to collapse, and the songs get real interesting. I’ll stop trying to translate stuff here and just tell you again to take a couple hours out of one day soon and listen to this whole album. It will be something you won’t soon forget.

Ghosts of the Past by Starflyer 59

Just a quick little post here about the album I’m currently listening to on lala.com. Ghosts of the Past is the name of the album. Starflyer 59 is the name of the band. I’ve got plenty of their albums, and for some reason they fall into the group of bands I forget about until I happen to see their name somewhere. When that happens, I’ll listen to them for a while, then let them fade away again.

So they just released this new album last month, and if you’re clicked play on that little embedded player there, you are hearing the same good sounds that I am as I write this! The album starts out just awesomely and keeps going strong for a good while. I just heard the Bread cover of Guitar Man, which has also been covered by Cake. They did it well I thought.

Ghosts of the PastI’m now on track 16, and it seems to be losing momentum. There are 31 tracks on this 2-disc album, so I suppose that’s bound to happen. I’m going to keep listening to it and see how it plays out.

As for the genre of Starflyer 59, they’re kind of an in between type of sound. The two groups would be shoegaze and post-rock. They’ve got a somewhat distant sound, but it’s a bit more up front than most shoegaze stuff, and I’m still not sure how to describe post-rock, but I think it fits them pretty well. Pretty strong point there huh?

So anyway, check out the music, it struck me as something worthy of letting the world know about via this here site. If nothing else, it may provide some nice background music to get you through your workday Monday…day.

Ulrich Schnauss – Goodbye

Hey! Click that little gray play button on top of that player to the right there to enjoy some soothing sounds while reading this post.

I am a big fan of taking naps. Long ago, in fact, I think when I was in junior high school, I would listen to music as I went to sleep. Back then I remember the main albums being Metallica’s Black Album and Coolio’s It Takes a Thief. I also had a pretty sweet mix tape I recorded off of the radio. I still remember it having Anyone Can Play Guitar by Radiohead. Who knew they’d go on to make so much good stuff.

These days I tend to listen to more sleep-promoting music when trying to pass out. I’ve got plenty, and if you check out my Last.fm profile you will notice that my top artists all time are about half populated by artists like Carbon Based Lifeforms and Ulrich Schnauss. That’s mostly because I play them when going to sleep, and if it works, the album plays through, bumping up the play count of that artist while I’m passed out.

Ulrich Schnauss - GoodbyeSo, Goodbye by Ulrich Schnauss. It’s not quite an album that will make you pass out even if you’ve just chugged some Red Bull, but it’s quite relaxing. I don’t know much about the fellow except that he’s from the UK and makes good music.

This album is my favorite work of his. The opening track gives you a pretty good idea of what the album’s all about. Soothing sounds with a nice mellow beat. It’s like being wrapped up in a soft blanket, but with sounds, it’s wild stuff. Shine, the second track, is a bit off the path for this album. It’s a good song, but the vocals are a bit out of place with the rest of the songs.

Tiger Woods on FalcorBy the time you get to the fifth track, if you aren’t asleep, it will likely put you under. It’s incredibly soothing and often sends some chills down my neck. Other notable tracks on here are Medusa and the title track, Goodbye. Medusa is kind of the power track on here. It’s got some slightly industrial sounding stuff. It almost a post-rock/shoegaze kind of sound to it, all while being very melodic and still relaxing. Goodbye is the song I’d want to listen to if I was riding on the back of Falcor through Fantasia. It’s quite magical really.

Alrighty, I think I’ll go have a nap!

Simple Minds – Real Life

Simple Minds - Real LifeI frequently find myself listening to this album when I’m looking for some good background music while doing some work on the computer. I think it could fit in the category of non-mood-specific music, if that works.

Simple Minds has been around for a long time, and I think this is possibly their greatest work. Their song Don’t You (Forget About Me) was their biggest hit, and is a fun pop song. This album has a richer feel to it and a couple real good semi-emotionally charged tracks. It has a similar feel to it as Welcome to Wherever You Are by INXS; another of my favorite vintage albums.

Let the Children Speak is one of the powerhouse tracks. A lot of volume does this song plenty of good. Banging On the Door is such an epic song that it has its own intro. It builds up with some distant piano and ghostly sounds, then picks up nicely into a head-bobbing groove in the main track. The final track of the album, When Two Worlds Collide combines much of what makes the whole album good, into one song. It’s got a low key underlying groove with some great vocals on top of the airy sound.

As this is my first full album review on here, I’m not sure how to end things. I’m a fan of rating systems, so I think I may take it upon myself to employ one here. Not sure how I’ll do it in the future, but I think I’m going to base it on a scale of 0 to 100. Anything by Celine Dion being 0 and for the 100, well, we’ll just have to wait and see! Why 100? I’ll tell ya why! I’ve never understood using a 10.0 scale, when two or three numbers are being typed anyway; why throw in the decimal point? More typing is all that means!

I’m going to give this album a solid:

80 out of 100

Yeah, could’ve just said 8, but I’ll use the single digits sometime.

Buy Simple Minds – Real Life at Amazon.

Brad Sucks – I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

I discovered Brad Sucks through Pandora a while back. I think I may have heard it on the The Beta Band station. The song that got me hooked was “Making Me Nervous” which is the first track on his album I Don’t Know What I’m Doing. His music is great, and best of all, you can legally get it for free! I’ll explain more below, but for the anxious types, here’s the music video for “Making Me Nervous”:

Brad Sucks is an open source artist. For those unfamiliar with open source, it means that all the files and source code (for programs, in this case, it’s the songs broken down into the different audio parts) are available at no cost to the public. Brad Sucks offers all his source code, if you will, on his site with the only request being that you share your remixes with everyone at his site. There have been a whole lot of takers on that offer; check them out at his Remixes page.

Okay, enough dancing around, on to the review! As you’ve probably heard by now, via that video above, “Making Me Nervous” is an awesome song. It’s got a kind of mellow funk to it, and has a bass line that encourages at the least a bit of a head bob. The rest of the album keeps the same feel to it, with some slower songs in the mix. “Fixing My Brain” is another of my favorites on the album. It’s got a feel to it that would work well with a relaxing drive home from a rough day at work perhaps.

The album has 12 tracks, but still clocks in at a hair over 40 minutes in length. You can download the tracks for free directly from his site. There are a number of options for your grubby hands on I Don’t Know What I’m Doing. You can get the songs for free at 128kbps, buy them for any price (yes, even free if you feel alright about that) at 192kbps, or even get them in FLAC format for what looks like a minimum of 50 cents, or a maximum of over a billion dollars, sweet! You can also buy the physical CD for a minimum of $5.

So get on over to his site and get his music, there’s no excuse not to, really. Get it all here.