Archive for December, 2002
Wednesday, December 25th, 2002
Merry Christmas to everyone as I finish up my last paper of the semester :)
Massive Attack, after releasing their fourth album in February next year, is reportedly going to be doing a couple of collaborations, one with Mos Def and one with Tom Waits. The former will be awesome - they’ve worked together before and the result was “I Against I” on the Blade 2 soundtrack, a great song. Without the lyrical limitations of that song (since it was, after all, written for a soundtrack) holding them back, I expect really great things from this collaboration. The latter is just… kind of weird. I’m really looking forward to hearing it and seeing what the hell happens.
Oh yeah, and Opeth is touring the US and Canada, that’s pretty exciting. Just bought my ticket for the show at the Irving Plaza in NYC. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of crowd is there.
Tuesday, December 24th, 2002
I’ve been reading some of the miscellaneous forums over at head-fi recently - this is a great site if you’re interested in good headphones or good portable CD players. I have a pair of the former (Grados) and am in the market for one of the latter, so I’ve been browsing the posts a lot. But there are also music forums, and it’s interesting to read what these audiophile types listen to. Lots of classical and jazz fans, not surprisingly, but also a bunch of IDM/electronica fans. Interesting.
Anyway, someone posted the poll: “do you think there is any such thing as bad music”? The overwhelming majority has been voting “yes” - 75% or so - but here’s a great comment by someone:
A very strong no from me. The day I ever think there is such a thing as bad or crappy music is the day I need to get a life. I may not agree with somebody else’s music tastes, but I will never point at someone and tell them “that music sucks”. Anybody that does that needs a serious attitude re-adjustment and needs to bring their nose back down to earth a little.
I seriously could care less if you only listen to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 SACD on repeat, or Britney Spears on repeat. As JMT’s sig says, “If it sounds good, it is good.” And that’s all that an individual should care about.
Thursday, December 19th, 2002
Aaaaaargh, finals week is hell. Wish I could have worked on the site, but it hasn’t been possible. I wrote 40 pages in four days earlier this week. I still have an exam and a lengthy paper (20+ pages) left before I leave for home on Saturday. Gaaah.
Great paragraph from the liner notes of that Camper Van Beethoven box set I mentioned in the last entry:
Let’s admit this indie predilection: there is something so damn satisfying about liking a band that no one else has heard of. Mr. Indie doesn’t need the masses to tell him what to listen to, because he’s got taste, and he’s in the know. That’s right. If you don’t believe us when we tell you that Camper Van Beethoven is indeed obscure, go ask some guy on the street if he likes them. When he says, “Camper Who?” or better yet, looks at you like you are speaking a Germanic dialect, you’ll know it’s time to smile, because you are Indie with a capital I. You know something he doesn’t. Accordingly, you can just shake your head in disgust at his SUV-driving ass, and walk away.
I’ve been making a bunch of mix CDs for people lately. My CD-R drive was acting up and I couldn’t find a good CD burning package for Windows XP without dishing out a hundred bucks for some Adaptec program. Luckily my brother has been ripping MP3s and burning CDs a lot lately so he pointed me in the right direction. So I’m now happily ripping and burning away with Exact Audio Copy, LAME, and Nero. The first two are highly recommended for ripping tracks from CDs and encoding to MP3 without losing too much quality; the latter is just a pretty all-around solid CD burning program. And this is a great intro to it all.
It would be interesting to compare the mixes I make for other people with the mixes I make for myself. I tend to leave all the really weird shit off of mixes for other people. Maybe I should stop censoring myself like that. On the other hand, maybe I’m just being smart.
Oh yeah: the new Grey Eye Glances, A Little Voodoo, is growing on me. There are a couple of tracks that are just heinous, but some of them are pretty good. A lot poppier than the band used to be (well, circa Eventide anyway), but not bad. Oddly enough, two of the ten tracks on the album were produced by Jerry Marotta, and those two happen to be my favorite ones.
Wednesday, December 11th, 2002
Today I got, from amazon.com, the new Camper Van Beethoven box set, Cigarettes & Carrot Juice. I’d only heard some MP3s of this band before, but I liked what I’d heard and for a 5CD box, this release is pretty damn cheap. So I went ahead and took a gamble. And though I’ve only listened to about half the contents of the box, I gotta say: this stuff is utterly brilliant! I immediately fell in love with the first disc - a reissue of the band’s first album, Telephone Free Landslide Victory. It’s astoundingly creative lo-fi post-punk type stuff, with some Eastern European influenced instrumentals that are just great. I’ll probably be reviewing this stuff in the near future… I’m really enthralled.
I also got the new Opeth, which is also great, and the new Grey Eye Glances, which sucks. To be fair I’ve only listened to half of it once, but it made me bare my fangs.
Monday, December 9th, 2002
Here’s another list - my top 10 releases of 2001. No, that’s not a typo. I think it’s silly to be doing a top ten list for 2002 already, since the year’s not even over yet. Besides, I always take a while to catch up on new releases, so undoubtedly a top ten for 2002 will be much more accurate if I do it a year from now. Anyway - my favorite CDs released in 2001 were, in (very) rough order of kick-ass-ness:
- The Dismemberment Plan - Change
My favorite album of the year, no question. Great indie-rock, a little less energetic than its predecessor Emergency & I, but more melodic and still possessing some absolutely killer grooves.
- Magma - Theusz Hamtaakh Trilogie
Unbelievably good live set. Who would have thought that these guys could kick so much ass thirty years down the road? There’s so much energy here, and the band is so tight, that I’ll probably never listen to the studio versions again.
- Mogwai - Rock Action
Mogwai’s most beautiful album yet. Lacks the sheer power of some of their other material, but makes up for it in majesty. What’s more, it’s probably the most consistent Mogwai album yet in terms of quality all the way through.
- Krakatoa - Togetherness
Whimsical, eclectic, and utterly unique. Definitely the best original prog album of the year.
- Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening and Closing
Again, utterly unique, and the best tracks on this album are just fucking awesome. The album as a whole is a bit inconsistent, but the sheer power of “Ambugaton” and “Powerless” alone sold me at first listen.
- The Beta Band - Hot Shots II
Sleepy and contemplative indie-rock that defies any further categorization, and that is transformed into incredibly energetic and groove-filled stuff in concert. The Beta Band just might be my favorite live band ever.
- Present - High Infidelity
A dark slab of accessible avant-prog. Best played at massive volumes!
- King Crimson - VROOOM VROOOM
Somehow King Crimson keeps releasing live albums, I keep buying them, and I keep loving them. This one doesn’t disappoint, even though I’ve already heard eight bajillion versions of all the songs on here already. It’s a testament either to the band’s brilliance or to my utter fanboyishness that I enjoy all their live material, even when it starts getting redundant to the tenth power.
- Tarentel - The Order of Things
Solid post-rock entry, although I preferred the debut album to this one. However, the first half is prime-time stuff.
- Avant Garden - Maelstrom
These guys have a seemingly unlimited reserve of energy. Ass-kickingly intense all the way through, sometimes to the point that it’s tough to get through it all in one sitting. Great debut nevertheless.
Some honorable mentions include Bob Drake’s Skull Mailbox, Explosions in the Sky’s Those Who Tell the Truth…, Radiohead’s Amnesiac, Silver Mt. Zion’s Born Into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward, and After Crying’s Bootleg Symphony (which was a pleasant surprise, as I wasn’t expecting much at all). All in all it was a pretty good year, I think. Certainly I can rave on and on about the top five or six in that top ten list… and as with any year there are undoubtedly some undiscovered gems from 2001 that I haven’t gotten around to picking up yet.
Sunday, December 8th, 2002
In working on Ground & Sky extensively for the past while (well, excepting the last couple days, while I was laid up in bed recovering from a mild concussion), I’ve suddenly rekindled an interest in progressive rock. Just from reading the reviews. That’s pretty cool, and tells me that the reviews we’ve got here are generally pretty good - if they make me want to go and listen to the music, they’re succeeding on some level.
So what have I been listening to the most for the past week or so? Here’s one of those lists I like so much…
- Agitation Free - Malesch
- Anti-Pop Consortium - Arrhythmia
- Belle and Sebastian - The Boy With the Arab Strap
- The Coup - Steal This Double Album
- The Cure - Disintegration
- Deus ex Machina - Cinque
- Echolyn - Suffocating the Bloom
- The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
- Krakatoa - Togetherness
- Opeth - Morningrise
- Shakira - Dónde están los ladrones?
- Sigur Rós - ( )
- Univers Zero - Rhythmix
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2002
The away message of some random girl I don’t even know reads:
i’m a pirate, and so are you if you download music. and for some reason, this makes me happy to konw that i can be considered a modern-day pirate. maybe they should come up w/ a new term that makes me feel shitty for downloading music, but for now…..ARRRRRRRR!