Archive for March, 2010

The Soft Pack “The Soft Pack”

March 24, 2010

Kemado Records

There has been a garage rock revival going on for the past couple years, so naturally, there are countless bands these days that think all they need to be a band is four crappy instruments, ten crappy songs and a crappily recorded album. Unfortunately, they are kind of right—there are people out there who will buy anything or, even worse, like anything. The fortunate side of this deal is there are bands out there like The Soft Pack who understand the garage mentality, but also comprehend the importance of somehow channeling that attitude into a great sounding record that utilizes its raw elements to the best of its abilities, and holds up to repeated listens. (more…)


Alex Chilton dies at age 59

March 19, 2010

The former Big Star singer died of a heart attack on March 17

Many have probably heard about the sudden death of Alex Chilton, one of the main songwriters behind the beloved Big Star canon. Actually, until his death, he may have been one of the world’s most beloved living songwriters. Granted, he was never really famous or anything. But, his songs were so great that the people who did know about him will revere him and remember him forever. (more…)

Listening Log: March 12th thru March 15th, 2010

March 16, 2010

Matador 1999


Album of the Day: Pavement “Terror Twilight”

This has been on my turntable for the last three days. I just keep flipping from side to side. I bought the vinyl used at Love Garden years ago, back when it was still the old upstairs store. The near-mint copy was only six dollars. Nowadays, with vinyl being how popular it is, I bet “Terror Twilight” would go for at least double that amount. Hell, maybe even triple, what with their reunion tour coming up later this year. That is part of the reason I was listening to Pavement, actually—I just paid $54 for my GA ticket to the Uptown show on 9/11/10, and even though the show is still six whole months away, I feel myself getting more psyched for it all the time. I never got to see Pavement live. They are one of those bands that first turned me on to great rock music, and I came along just a little too late to actually witness them. (more…)

Regina Spektor “Soviet Kitsch”

March 10, 2010

Sire 2004

Is it unfair to call Regina Spektor a punk rock Tori Amos? Perhaps. After all, compared to about 95% of Amos’ work, “Soviet Kitsch” is all at once more daring, more relevant, and more original. Also, to see a woman behind a piano nowadays and compare her to Amos seems like kind of a cop out. Would anyone compare John Tesh to Ben Folds? It’s not likely—unless, of course, you despise Ben Folds. (more…)

Beach House “Teen Dream”

March 9, 2010

Sub Pop 2010

I realize this review is coming a bit late. Not only was “Teen Dream” officially released in January, but it leaked onto the internet back in November. Even then, people were already blowing it up by word of mouth. I was impressed that so many people were talking about the record several months before its release, but being who I am, I also have to reserve some skepticism for those situations. I mean, seriously—Public Enemy was right when they said “Don’t believe the hype”. If you’re not careful, you can get tangled in that web pretty easily and might even totally forget what really turns you on musically. (more…)

Listening Log: March 3rd 2010

March 6, 2010

Island 1969

Kill Rock Stars 1995


Albums of the Day: Nick Drake Five Leaves Left
Elliott Smith Elliott Smith

I found it fitting that the I-Pod album shuffle randomly paired these two albums. Not only are the artists pretty similar musically and thematically, but these albums represent similar facets of their respective careers. (more…)

Listening Log: March 2nd 2010

March 4, 2010

Reprise 1970


Album of the Day: Neil Young After the Gold Rush

My writing style is such that I will spontaneously jot down whatever is in my mind at any given time, so I can understand how readers may have heard the phrase “one of my all-time favorite albums” quite a bit from me, in regards to several albums. But, I want my comments about “After the Gold Rush” to stand out significantly, so I will say this—it is EASILY on my list of top 5 albums ever made. On my I-Pod, I look at my individual ratings for the songs on this record, and I see eleven fives in a row. I NEVER see that! There is absolutely no filler here—even the minute-long “’Til the Morning Comes”, which acts as a sort of segue between sides A and B, is a perfect song. Aside from the overall perfection of the songwriting, there is just an amazing feel to this album that fills the room every time it comes on. It’s especially great at work—if the day is sucking horribly and I’m hating life and this record comes on, all of a sudden, the customers become people again. That first line of the opener “Tell Me Why”, “Sailing hardships through broken harbors”, sums up everyone’s day every day. It’s LIFE. “After the Gold Rush” is a very human record which covers pretty much the range of all possible human emotion, all in under 35 minutes and in Neil Young’s shaky-voiced glory. (more…)

Listening Log: March 1st 2010

March 3, 2010

Ardent 1974


Album of the Day: Big Star Radio City

Today was a great day for tunes! This right here is one of my favorite albums of all time, PERIOD. It’s actually really hard for me to pick between this and “#1 Record” sometimes, but in the end, they are both good for different occasions. “#1 Record” is good for days off when you’re chilling at home, or for date nights with the lady and whatnot. “Radio City” is for nights when you feel like taking the town to town and partying your ass off, or for days when you have to work and really, REALLY don’t want to go. Today was more of the latter, but when “O My Soul” came on with that super-bright, pummeling guitar intro, I really felt like I could take on anything, even a bunch of whiny customers at Subway. That’s a lot of strength for one song to supply one man, I tell you. (more…)

Rogue Wave “Permalight”

March 3, 2010

Brushfire 2010

Zach Rogue might have made believers out of many—including myself—with the debut Rogue Wave release, “Out of the Shadow”, but this has backfired on his band somewhat. The greatness of that first album, with its straight-from-the-bedroom quality, was apparently not well representative of Rogue’s intended direction for the Wave. The next two albums stray further from the feel of the first, yet they still retain the vulnerable whimsy that made Rogue’s songwriting stand out in the first place. (more…)

The Jim Carroll Band “Catholic Boy”

March 2, 2010

Atco 1980

I have always been reluctant to listen to this album. I thought The Basketball Diaries movie was OK back in high school, but I was never really a fan of the song “People Who Died”. In college, I discovered Carroll’s poetry and was moved by it, but for some reason, I have always expected that “Catholic Boy” would be a pretty unexciting affair. I was wrong, but I am not sure I could have stomached it as a younger music listener. (more…)

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