Burial - Tunes 2011-2019
Matmos - Matmos
Melt Banana - Cell-Scape
Lorde - Melodrama
DJ Mehdi - Lucky Boy at Night
Nearly everything I own is bought second hand, so I go to lots of thrift stores and secondhand shops. I enjoy searching through the CDs and tapes for sale with hopes of finding music I've never heard before. Here I will share with you some of the albums I buy, as well as my thoughts on them. I am far from a professional music critic, so I'll probably fuck up some terminology here and there. Please understand that all ramblings come after only a couple casual listens!
This CD contains a collaborative EP featuring the titular Chris Brokaw and Viva las Vegas. Released in 2001, the American singer-songwriter and Spanish duo each contribute two tracks to the CD, which has a short runtime of about 15 minutes. Chris' songs were record in a living room in Massachusetts, while Viva las Vegas' music was recorded in a studio in Gijón, Spain.
I've got mixed feeling about the first song on this CD. I'm honestly not sure how I feel about Chris' opening track Bricks. I think I'm leaning towards liking it since a friend of mine told me it was awful and to turn it off when I played it in the car. I don't know why, but I'm really drawn to Chris' droning (awful) vocal performance... am I just trying to hard to be different? Probably. Give it a listen yourself and stop asking me stupid questions.
The second track from Chris, La Playa is a shift in tone towards a pleasantly quiet little instrumental that wouldn't be out of place in a beach setting, hence the name. I feel like I can really relax to this track if I really wanted to. Just fine.
The second half of the CD features the Spanish duo Viva las Vegas, which I can't really find much info about online mostly due to "viva las vegas" being both a ZZ Top song and an Elvis song, as well as a popular phrase. Big search engine doesn't want to know about these guys! Their first track, El Río Llamado Orbigo, is another fairly pleasant instrumental that compliments the mediocrity of Chris'.
The CD wraps up with what is probably my favorite track, Viva Las Vegas' Una Vez Más. I couldn't tell you what the song is about or whats being said, but its the most agreeable track here, nobody would question the song if it came up in a playlist of mine. Though the repetative percussion may drag it down slightly, I really enjoy the hushed vocal performance.
This brief listen was alright, The first and last track will make it into my rotation, while the two tracks inbetween don't do much for me. I'd give this CD a 2/5.
Chris, if you're reading this, who the fuck is Steven?
freshwater was an alternative rock band originating in Dallas, Texas in 1997. As far as I can tell, this is their only full release. Though another was schedueled for 2002, I can't find mention of it online. Information about this band is incredibly scarce on the internet, with every search engine returning absolutely nothing. Their music doesn't appear to be on either YouTube or music streaming services and the only mentions of the band are on their now defunct website, thankfully archived by the wayback machine. There is a listing for a brisbane CD on ebay, but it appears to have been sitting there for a while and none have sold recently. If you want to hear this CD, apart from me ripping it and uploading it myself, you would have to buy the one other copy on the internet.
On the bands old website they say they were inspired by the likes of U2, the Police and the Dave Matthews band. I was prepared for the most sterile of pop rock, and thats partially what I got. This CD is composed of ten tracks, forming the album itself, along with four bonus tracks at the end. Lets start with the first ten. the opening track, paradise, sounds like it could have been an early 2000s mega-hit. I swear I've heard this song before, and thats because I probably have. I honestly quite enjoy paradise, It brings me insane nostalgia for something that I can't quite put my finger on. Being incredibly radio friendly, it sets the tone for the album as "the least annoying songs played at a Christian thrift store".
I hate to gloss over 90 percent of the album, but the next nine tracks just aren't that memorable, after three listens to this CD I still can't really pick them apart. However. there is one incredible, stand out moment when track five, restless opens with the line I remember yesterday, seems not too long ago.That line is the best way to describe the music on this CD. Maybe I'm just too stupid to read into these genius lyrics. Thats probably it. Yes.
Jokes aside, remember the bonus tracks I mentioned? They completely made up for the stale album I had just listened to. Somehow, these four tracks completely destroy the first ten. If this was released as an EP consisting of these last few songs, maybe along with paradise as an opener, the CD would be fantastic. Maybe tracks 2 through 10 should be the bonus tracks? The vibe on these bonus tracks is much more mellow, with much more pleasant sounds and less stupid lyrics. The CD ends on an incredibly high note, with the track little one sounding like a lullaby, in stark contrast to the rest of the album. The closer is incredibly heartfelt with a fantastic vocal performance credited to a Robert Musso. Nice work, Bob.
A strange CD for sure. I'd give the album itself a 1.5/5, the bonus tracks a 3/5, and the final track, little one, a 4/5. Its unfortunate that there isn't a way for you to listen to this album online. If anyone is interested in me uploading the songs somewhere, comment on my Neocities profile.
Royal Fingerbowl was a bluesy, jazzy, very much American musical trio from New Orleans, Louisiana. Being from up North in the country I had never heard of these guys before I came across this CD, still brand new in its shinkwrap. Though silly old me didn't even know what a fingerbowl was, the group apparently gained a sizable following in certain New Orleans clubs in the 90s.
This album, released in 1997, is an imaginative and compelling collection of 13 songs exploring many aspects of American life. The trio's sound can vary from track to track, genres I recognize include blues, jazz, and country music. This is all the while employing wondeful, diverse instrumentation. Each song is as pleasant as the last, with everything being tied together by the wonderfully gritty vocals of Alex McMurray. The trio's work has been compared to the music of Tom Waits, which is an easy comparison to make, but a hard reputation to live up to. Admittedly, I haven't listened to as much Tom Waits as I maybe should, but I think Royal Fingerbowl is able to pull off some of the man's magic through this album's entertaining songwriting, while still keeping its own identity. I honestly don't have much more than that to say about this album, I give it a very strong 4/5. Great music, plain and simple.
Royal Fingerbowl would release just one more album in 2000, Greyhound Afternoons, which I have yet to hear or own (though I am excited to hear it after how much I enjoyed this). Alex McMurray, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, is still active today, and has been a part of many musical projects since 2000. You can find out what Alex has been up to on his website, linked above.
Russ Rentler is a multi instrumentalist from Lehigh Valley, not too far away from me, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the back of the CD, he had been writing his own music for over twenty five years, and the CD is from 2004. Still active in 2020, the man has been writing his own music for over 40 years at this point! I've looked through his YouTube channel and he seems like a real cool guy. According to his channel description, he was a practicing physician for 31 years. Hell yeah! Go doctors!
The album itself is a 13 track compilattion of indie Americana goodness, and features a wide range of different instruments, all apparently played by Russ. These instruments include a 1960's Fender Telecaster Bass, a fiddle, and a homemade 15-14 hammer dulcimer. This album is a super easy listen, and in a very good way. Russ is obviously very talented, and his silky smooth voice shines on tracks like "Jewel of the Carribean" and "Eternity Girl". I don't think that there was a song on here I didn't enjoy, and I've listened to this album a couple times now without it getting old.
Is this NPR-core? Probably, but this is the type of music I love to find, it fills me with joy seeing people do something they so obviously love. I will certainly following Russ Rentler's works to come. I give this album a 3/5, its fun, chill, aucoustic music and I reccomend giving it a listen.
When I bought this CD, based on the cover alone I was expecting some flavor of angsty rock, but instead I got a very dated synthpop album from a group with a mildly interesting story.
According to the story I've pieced together from a few websites, in 2000, a man named Stephen Mork placed an ad looking for a female vocalist to sing over the energetic beats he was producing. Kristin Buckman answered this ad and the two met and began working on their sound, calling themselves somegirl and releasing this first album in 2002. A handful of other men are credited in the CD's insert, including Scott Wilson, Brian Hazard, Shane Nimmer, and a Jakob Mork, who I assume is related to Stephen Mork. Suddenly, somegirl turns into some dudes and a girl they found by chance in the paper.
I feel like theres a certain crowd on a certain web hosting community that would love the early 2000s electronic sounds of this album, but for me, the understated vocals and sometimes bland production drag it down immensely. There are moments here where the mood takes a sharp turn, for example, the first two tracks are slow and emotional, then you're hit with the very 90s drums of the third. To me, the album is a mixed bag where I enjoy some of the more dancable tracks like 'Yes / No' and 'Try to Relate', and I am bored by tracks like 'Waiting' and 'Rabbit'.
This album has a handful of catchy, synth fueled moments, but there are also stretches of whiny, unnapealing vocals that I can't ignore. However, everyone has their own specific tastes, and I know some would love this whole thing. I myself will be taking a few tracks and putting them into a background music playlist, it just seems like that kind of album to me. I give the whole thing a forgetable 1.5/5.
somegirl is still active today, 18 years later. Stephen Mork has gone through at least four female vocalists and two labels in this time, and the man's latest projects are Never Be and Darkened Room: Never Be, Volume 2.