Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 2001

For this week's Throwback Thursdsay, I decided to go with the year 2001. I decided to throw in some cheesy pop songs for fun (BTW...I do not consider Sade's music "cheesy" at all).

01. The Corrs: Breathless

02. Madonna: Don't Tell Me

03. Jimmy Eat World: The Middle

04. Coldplay: Yellow

05. Blu Cantrell: Hit Em Up Style

06. P!nk: You Make Me Sick

07. Sade: By Your Side

08. Faithless: We Come 1

09. Depeche Mode: Dream On

10. Alicia Keys: Fallin'

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Album of the week: The Box Borealis by Moon and Pollution

I have to admit when local rag City Pages has its moments (despite the fact that the local publication posts some of the shittiest writing I have ever read by the biggest douchebags in the metro area) like when they post online an interview with a band that would appeal to my musical sensibilities when it comes to electronica music. This doesn't occur very often but when it does I do have to eat a healthy helping of crow. In this case I came across an interview on City Pages website featuring a new local band called Moon and Pollution. They are an electronic/pop duo featuring Molly Dean on vocals and Graham O'Brien as producer. You can read their interview here on City Pages' website.

After reading the article, I immediately went on to the band's bandcamp page and listened to their debut album The Box Borealis. It is a beautiful, well crafted album that shares the same vibe as fellow local artists/acts Tiny Deaths and Aby Wolf's work with its gentle, lush trip hop beats and Dean's haunting vocals. There was no doubt that The Box Borealis was going to be this week's pick for Album of the Week.  There is nothing about this album I did not love. It is very well produced and I get immense pleasure out of listening to each track on the album.

Not sure if I am going to make it to their record release party on Saturday since I am trying to get rid of a cold that has been plaguing me like forever and I really want to see some friends perform live at Ground Zero on Friday night. I have posted a link for tickets to their upcoming show.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Singing competition shows is not the way to go to start a music career

Today I read that American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is suing the show's production company 19 Entertainment so he could get out of his contract with them because of the oppressive climate he is in. You can read all the gory details about it here.

I will be up front and say that I have no sympathy for the guy. It is clear as day that the intentions of American Idol and their production company is to make as much money out of their cash cows, er, winners from the long time singing competition. You have to be pretty naive to think that if you were to win a singing competition you would have complete artistic freedom with your music. From what I have read about the situation, Phillip Phillips had to sign quite a few contracts. That in itself should have a been a tell tale sign for him that this was not going to be about what he wants to do as an artist but what 19 Entertainment expects of him as their client. People who go on these shows should know better than to expect that they would have complete control of their music.  I don't think these contestants who goes on shows like American Idol and The Voice don't even consider the "business" part of the term "music business".

Unlike American Idol, the winners, let alone the contestants of The Voice have yet to achieve the fame and popularity of those who have  gone on American Idol. In the past NBC has claimed that their goal with the show was to help the artists with their career and weren't concerned with getting hit singles/records from the artists. I find that to be utter rubbish. C'mon. The mainstream music industry today is all about the benjamins. The Voice has been on the air for seven seasons and yet most of the contestants and winners have faded into the shadows. Is this what those contestants really wanted or at least expected when they were voted onto the show? Does anyone remember the first winner of The Voice Javier Colon? I sure don't.

Today many artists are utilizing sites like Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Reverb Nation and various crowd funding sites to get their music to their fans. Granted it takes a lot of work for the artist to make their music, promote it, and if they are releasing their music on CD/Vinyl (besides in digital form), and shipping out the music which often comes straight out of their pockets but they are not stuck in a binding contract with a company whose sole interests is making money. In other words it is a lot of work to go at it alone in the music industry with crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, getting music made and put out there for music fans says a lot about the role of record labels and the state of the music industry (which is the old way is done).

I have to ask this question to those who want to go on singing competition shows? Are you willing to sell out your integrity and artistry as an artist just so you can become famous? And do you think it is worth sacrificing your art for the sake of becoming a celebrity? Fame is fleeting as a lot of past American Idol and The Voice contestants can probably vouch for me on that statement. Music should be about art, not celebrity and being famous. I get the impression with the contestants who goes on to these shows. I have quite a few friends in the local music scene in bands. I see what they do to get their music heard. It is a lot of work. I have a ton of respect for my friends who have to go through so much shit to get their music heard than those who go on singing competition shows. Those shows are a joke and are just looking for the next cash cow/corporate slave. A little hard work doesn't kill anyone.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly playlist for the week of 01/26 through 02/01

For this week's playlist, I compiled some of my favorite songs that have been covered or written by the Greek synthpop duo Marsheaux. They are one of my favorite synthpop bands for the past five years now. I think they are underrated in my book. I think I discovered their music on youtube. Not really sure how I discovered them but whatever the case I loved what I had heard and have been hooked on their music since first hearing their song "Summer".

The band recently released a cover album on Spotify of the Depeche Mode album A Broken Frame. I enjoyed it. I think it is worth checking out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seabound with Architect: Speak in Storms tour Saint Paul, MN show 3/27

In case you have not heard about the next Kilted Farmer Koncerts show, it is going to be the German synthpop band Seabound with the German electronica act Architect featuring Haujobb's Daniel Myer. Wisconsin trip hop band Endless Blue will open up the show and DJ BigKev will be dj'ing in between sets.

In honor of the upcoming show I have posted playlists featuring the three bands performing that night. I personally am particularly fond of the Architect album. Endless Blue is really good too. I have a couple of their albums. If you dig trip hop, I definitely recommend checking them out. I personally prefer Seabound's other albums but Speak in Storms isn't too bad.

Seabound /wArchitect Facebook Event

Seabound tickets

3/27 Seabound, Architect, Endless Blue Show

Seabound Facebook Page

Architect Facebook Page

Endless Blue Facebook Page

All the gory details about the show can be found on the Facebook event link which I have posted below the Endless Blue playlist.  The show is on a Friday night. Unless you work on the weekend (fortunately I don't), do come to the show to really show support for our local scene so Kilted Farmer Koncerts can bring in more bands like Seabound to town. Every single person that shows up to the shows do make a huge difference. Please share the Facebook event with your friends as much as possible.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My latest finds on Bandcamp

This past week I found some compelling music through Bandcamp (one of my favorite sources for finding new music). Of course I have to share what I heard with my blog readers.

I am really digging the sounds of Animal Bodies right now. Excellent band from Vancouver. I find their music very hypnotic to listen to.

Oscillating Faces is from Colorado. I had listened to a couple of their songs on bandcamp and totally dug what I had heard. The music is a mix of industrial, ambient, and noise. From what I have read on their Facebook page, they are currently working on their first album.

Vajra is a band from NY that blends hard rock with Middle Eastern Indian themes.

Antilav is an excellent electro act from Russia. Their "In My Dreams Around the World" EP is my favorite find from Bandcamp. The song is addictive. It has really great hooks.

If you are looking for some interesting new music, check out the music that I just posted here. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1977

I admit it, I have a soft spot for ABBA. I couldn't resist including one of their songs for this week's Throwback Thursday ;).

01. Iggy Pop: Lust For Life

02. David Bowie: Heroes

03. Runaways: Queens of Noise

04. Heart: Barracuda

05. Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill

06. Donna Summer: I Feel Love

07. ABBA: Knowing Me, Knowing You

08. Ramones: Sheena is a Punk Rocker

09. Kraftwerk: Trans-Europe Express

10. Sex Pistols: Pretty Vacant

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Some food for thought: Why I Love CDs

This morning before work I came across this (atrocious) rant on City Pages' website called I Hate CDs written by one Drew Ailes. I am still stunned this guy gets paid to write shit for the site but then again half of the articles on City Pages is pretty shitty and poorly written to begin with. Drew's rant (I refuse to call it an "article" since there is nothing factual about it). While at work today, I decided to post a counterpoint to Drew's ridiculous rant.

01. Sound quality: MP3s vs CDs.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I prefer the sound quality of CDs over mp3s. Example: Chandeen's Forever and Ever album.

Today my CD copy of the new Chandeen album arrived in the mail today. I am currently listening to the album as I am at my desk and writing tonight's blog entry. I really like the uncompressed sounds that I am hearing over the digital version of the album. As a music junkie, I relish in the whole experience of listening to music especially at home when I don't have to wear my earphones like I do at work. I get an intimate quality to the music on Forever and Ever that I really don't pick up on with the mp3 version.

02. CDs vs. MP3s
I personally like being able to hold the music in my own two hands. Does the music take up room? Oh sure but I don't care. Although nothing can really compare to the artwork on vinyl, I just don't get the same joy I get from seeing the artwork (digital version) that comes with my CDs. It is not the same for me, as is the music.

When I am at concerts, I try to make a point of buying merchandise from one or both bands that I am seeing that night. While I am more than happy to plunk down $5 for a card to get music off a certain band's bandcamp page, that just doesn't compare to the same pleasure I get from buying a CD from the band.

In his obnoxious rant, Drew bitches about how CDs get easily damaged. I am not going to pretend that isn't true because it is. Earlier last year I had to buy another copy of Delerium's Poem album because my old copy kept skipping on a couple of songs. Was I annoyed to have to buy another copy of my favorite Delerium album? Yeah but the world didn't end.

From my personal experience, most of the CDs I buy I enjoy from start to finish. Of course there will always be a song here and there that I may not like but that can be said about other formats like vinyl and cassettes. You can either fast forward or lift the needle on the record player to avoid the song you may not like. Drew implies that CDs has cheapened the whole music experience and has made it easier for people to just listen to the songs they bought the album for. Not for me. I'm not interesting in singles. I listen because the music is good. I treat the music I buy as a whole and will listen to the product a few times before making a final decision.  Drew must really think most music listeners have the IQ of a bowl of tapioca pudding because that is the impression I get every time he has to bitch about something on City Pages. The Twin Cities Underground might be a lowly blog that doesn't get a lot of traffic but I will say this I do not go out of my way to insult music fanatics because they listen to one particular format (or their tastes in music).

At the end of the day, if someone like Drew prefers listening to other formats of music like MP3s, great but don't be an asshole about it and insult those who prefer other formats. That is called being an asshole.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My 10 Favorite Albums When I Was Teenager

Today at work I was on '90s kick and spent the morning listening to music that I loved as a teenager. I thought I would share some of my favorite albums from my part of my teenage years. All of the albums featured represents my musical tastes from my sophomore year in high school and after when I discovered alternative rock and punk music. I read the old punk fanzine Flipside religiously. I wasn't that into Maximum Rock and Roll 'zine. Of course I wore a lot of flannel and always had a pair of Doc Martens (or their cheaper rip offs) on my feet.

I thank the heavens for Social Distortion for getting me out of that hair metal crap. I liked some Nirvana but I wasn't too blown away by their music like a lot of people were. I was more into bands like L7 and Babes in Toyland. Their music was far less polish than Nirvana's. I also dug 7 Year Bitch and The Gits, two bands I read about in Flipside which is how I discovered them. I discovered L7 in an issue of Rolling Stone magazine with Nirvana on the cover.

As much as I disliked high school, the music during those formidable years were certainly some of the best. What makes me look back with such fondness is the joy I got from discovering them in Flipside and then hunting down their music. The younger generation today will never know the joy I got from working my ass to discovering new artists. Now they have social media and the internet. Also they treat music as if it is a commodity and not as a work of art. It would be wrong for me to say that all the millenials are like that but there certainly is a lot of them who don't view music the same way as I do.

10. Texas: Mothers Heaven

09. The Gits: Frenching the Bully

08. PJ Harvey: Dry

07. 7 Year Bitch: Sick 'Em

06. Curve: Cuckoo

05. Cycle Sluts From Hell: Cycle Sluts From Hell

04. L7: Smell the Magic

03. Babes in Toyland: Fontanelle

02. Social Distortion: Social Distortion

01. L7: Bricks are Heavy

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Playlist for the Week of 01/19 - 1/26

For this week's playlist, I decided to go in a more mellow direction. I could have easily gone with straight forward trip hop mix but I decided that would be way to predictable and I picked out some of my current ("Water Me" by FKA Twigs) and past favorite songs ("Hotel California" by Noblesse Oblige). I really can't get enough of FKA Twigs at the moment. It is so nice to be able to listen to pop music with substance to it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Album of the Week: EP2 by FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs: EP2

I finally got around to checking out FKA Twigs' 2013 release EP2 (follow up to 2012's EP1 )being that I love her full length album LP1. I was not disappointed with what I had heard from the young artist. I really like this 4 song, fifteen minute opus thus making it my pick for this week's Album of the Week (despite the fact that it is only an EP). FKA (formerly known as) Twigs is certainly not your traditional r and b artist. Her work resembles more of the collaboration of Martina Topley-Bird and Tricky on his Maxinquaye. She also reminds me a bit of  the artist Grimes (who I am also a fan of). Her lyrics are raw and personal. While I love Twigs' latest album, I find myself drawn more to her work on EP2 (as well as EP1). I think her songs have a stronger atmospheric quality to them. The lyrics are not as repetitive as they are on LP1. I do hope in the future, FKA Twigs will release EP1 and EP2 together either as a digital download or on CD. Her songs on both EPs are incredible and definitely needs to be heard.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekly Lists

Update: I decided to change the title of my weekly series 10 of My Favorite Things in Music to the much more simpler title Weekly Lists. I also decided to not keep it to 10 items. I find that awful restrictive but overall concept remains the same but with a different title.

Bands I Would Love to See at Future Girl Germs shows
Tiny Deaths
Grrrl Prty or at least Lizzo
Fort Wilson Riot
Babes in Toyland
Jourdan Myers
Sick of Sarah
Gospel Gossip

My Current Favorite Albums
Sade: The Best of Sade
Steve Aoki: Neon Future l
Mono: Formica Blues
Emmon: Nomme
Kitten Forever: Pressure
Chandeen: Forever and Ever'
FKA Twigs: EP2

Local Bands People Should Check Out
Kitten Forever
Lizzo (and her group Grrrl Prty)
Fort Wilson Riot
The Rope

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: 1988

It has been awhile since I have done a Throwback Thursday entry. Got to get back to doing it on a regular basis. This week I chose 1988.

01. The Bangles: Hazy Shade of Winter

02. Erasure: Chains of Love

03. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dreaming

04. Camouflage: The Great Commandment

05. Eurythmics: I Need a Man

06. Primitives: Crash

07. Siouxsie and The Banshees: Killing Jar

08. Alphaville: Forever Young

09. Bananarama: Love in the First Degree

10. The Sisters of Mercy: This Corrosion

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Old and New Favorite Songs

Old Favorites:
Mono: Life in Mono

Over the weekend I picked up Mono's album Formica Blues. When I first heard the album back in my 20s, I really wasn't impressed with the album other than the track "Life in Mono". Now that I have listened to it again, I am finding myself enjoying the album. Still love the song "Life in Mono to this very day.

Elastica: 2:1

My personal favorite Elastica song of all time.

Veruca Salt: Volcano Girls

I can never get tired of listening to "Volcano Girls". So glad to be able to see Veruca Salt perform this song live this past summer too.

New Favorites:
Ellie Goulding: Love Me Like You Do

I love the new Ellie Goulding song but it still won't get my ass into the theater for that shitfest 50 Shades of Grey. I rather read Ayn Rand than read crap.

Mondtraume: Still Beating

My very favorite synthpop song at the moment. So damn catchy. Mondtraume has yet to put out a song I do not like.

Unity One: Infra Red

Really great synthpop song.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Weekly Playlist for 01/12-0/18/15

I completely forgot to put together another playlist last week especially before the 2nd annual Girl Germs Tribute show. My bad. I am totally making up for it this week with this 10 song playlist of my favorite songs from the '90s (mostly but not all) and from various seminal alternative rock bands (and one solo artist) all female fronted. I was inspired to put this playlist together after seeing Kitten Forever perform live on Saturday night. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Girl Germs Live Tribute to Women in Music

Last night I went to the Turf Club in Saint Paul to attend the second annual Girl Germs Live Tribute to Women in Music. The show was a group of local bands playing cover songs by well known women in music. Last night's line up featured Yoni Yum (Marianne Faithful), K.Raydio(Erykah Badu), Kitten Forever(Beyonce), Alpha Consumer with Debbie Duncan(Aretha Franklin), and Aby Wolf (Kate Bush).

Unlike the first show which was held in the mainroom at First Avenue, last night's show was sold out. Also it had more of an intimate setting than the First Avenue show back in May. Due to a family emergency, The Current's Andrea Swensson who was originally going to curate the event had to bail out of the show but thankfully Sheela Namakkal was able to fill in her shoes. Just like the first Girl Germs event, the second event was a lot of fun. I was really impressed with the post-punk, synth-rock group Yoni Yum. Really enjoyed watching them go through Marianne Faithfull's music. I definitely will have to catch them in concert again live to hear them perform original music. I will be brutally honest, I am not really familiar with Marianne's catalog so I can't really compare their covers to the original songs. I do think the songs sounded great. I absolutely loved Kitten Forever's set. Their set really stood out with me of all the bands that performed last night. The women had a lot of energy and I loved that they switched instruments through out their short 30 minute set. I could also see the women were totally having a blast on stage. They also have a lot of energy. I think the band did a kickass job of covering Beyonce's music. I like that they gave her music a punk sound to the song. They sounded a lot better. LOL! I hope to be able to see the women live again so I could hear them perform their own material. I think it was smart of them to choose an artist that no one expected to cover for the show. The results were highly entertaining. Aby Wolf was fantastic. She really nailed the Kate Bush songs to a tee. There were moments when I felt I was listening to Kate Bush in concert last night. I'm really not big on modern day R and B or Erykah Badu but I thought K.Raydio put in an excellent set. She definitely did Erykah Badu justice with her interpretations of her songs. The only set of the night I wasn't feeling was Alpha Consumer's set. I like Debbie Duncan. She has a wonderful voice but the music just bored me. It was like improvisational jazz that would never end (which is why I am not a fan of jazz music because sometimes it goes on and on for what seems like forever).

Overall though, last night was a fun show. I got a ton of pictures this time around :) I also have posted some clips from some of the artists' bandcamp sites so go check them out.

goth_maven's Second Annual Girl Germs Tribute show album on Photobucket

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Album of the Week: Forever and Ever by Chandeen

Last week I finally got around to listening to the new Chandeen album Forever and Ever which was released late last year. I wished I had listened to it sooner so I could have included the album on my end of the year best of list but I cannot turn back time. Despite the fact that I am a little late on this album, I am making Forever and Ever my Album of the Week pick.

Forever and Ever is a stunning 11 song collection of electronica and pop music. Unlike most of the music I listen to on a regular basis, Forever and Ever is anything but dark and moody. The overall sound is light and airy with a heavy dose of dreamy-like quality thrown into the mix. I can't help but hear a bit of The Jesus and Mary Chain in the lush melodies in the beginning of the album. I have listened to this album three times today and probably will be for the rest of the night. It is a wonderful album that has me enchanted from start to finish. Excellent music to unwind to after a long day at the office. It says a lot about the quality of an album when I quickly buy a copy online after hearing the first 2-3 songs. I do hope people will give this album a listen. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Old and New Favorite Songs

Just a minute ago I finally got around to opening up the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The first thing I was the expert opinion column where artists share their favorite old and new songs. I immediately thought this would make for a really good weekly series on my blog. That is the inspiration of tonight's blog. Enjoy!

Janet Jackson: Together Again

I have been listening to Janet Jackson's album The Velvet Rope constantly since I checked it out from the library over the weekend. I think it is one of the best pop albums to come out of the 1990s including Madonna's Ray of Light. The album still holds up after nearly 20 years since its release. One of my favorite songs off the album is the super catchy "Together Again". At the time of this song was released as a single, I was into house and trance music. "Together Again" really appealed to me especially the Jonathan Peters remix. After hearing the song for the first time in so many years, I still love "Together Again" as well as The Velvet Rope. Damn shame Janet's work went downhill after that.

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts: I Hate Myself For Loving You

I have been on a Joan Jett kick lately and this is my personal favorite track. She was a badass back then and still is to this very day. Too bad tickets for her concert with The Who is anything but cheap, that and she is just the opening act otherwise I totally would go see her.

Cat Stevens: Father and Son

This is my personal favorite Cat Stevens song. I have been playing it constantly since I borrowed Tea For the Tillerman (the album the song is on) from the library. Such a beautiful ballad.

Junksista: The Truth

I really love the '80s vibe on this track.

Emmon: Smalltown Boy

I absolutely love this cover of Bronski Beat's song by my current favorite electropop act Emmon. I love Emma's vocals on this track in particular but the rest of Aon is fantastic.

Schwarzblut: Bis aufs Blut

Really digging the new Schwarzblut album. "Bis aufs Blut" is what made me a fan of Schwarzblut.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Overlooked albums from 2014

Well it hasn't been a full week since the new year started, I thought I would share with my readers some albums from 2014 that I had overlooked or missed.

Chandeen: Forever and Ever

This is a beautiful electro-pop album. The album is awashed in lush melodies and the gentle vocals of Julia Beyer and Harald Lowy.

Schwarzblut: Geyben aller Verdammten

I finally got around to getting the new Schwartzblut album and I must say it is absolutely fantastic. Why it took me so long to get it is beyond me. I love the dual vocals between Zeon and Angelika. I also enjoy the combination of modern dark electro music with poetry and philosophy from the 17th to the 19th century. This is definitely not something I hear nowadays in the music scene.

Bella Morte: Exorcisms

I am finally getting around to listening to the new Bella Morte album Exorcisms and it is fucking awesome! They do a stupendous cover of Depeche Mode's "Never Let Me Down". The album is super catchy.

Mondtraume: Still Beating

I love Mondtraume. They put out the best synthpop album of 2014 in my book. It is so ridiculously catchy. At the end of 2014, the duo released the Still Beating EP. "Still Beating" is a new song by the duo featuring a few remixes of tracks from their album Empty. The remixes did not disappoint me and I absolutely love the song "Still Beating". This group can do no wrong in my book.

Aengeldust: Freakshow

Freakshow is an in your face wall of noise. Totally kickass music.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Weekly Playlist

Now that I have figured out how to embed my spotify playlists onto my blog, I decided to create a weekly playlist for my blog. Like my blog, I want my readers to be exposed to some really great music that they otherwise might not have heard. I may feature one particular band one week and have a theme on the following playlist.

 Here is this week's playlist. Enjoy!