Help From the Initiated

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Tom4
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Help From the Initiated

Postby Tom4 » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:39 pm

I've got a few albums on my list that I'd like some reports on before buying, due to limited money. Can anyone tell me anything about the following, if I should pick 'em up or whatnot.

So Jealous, Tegan and Sara
Please Describe Yourself, Dogs Die in Hot Cars
Misery is a Butterfly, Blonde Redhead
In a Safe Place, The Album Leaf
Business Casual, Beep Beep
Now Here is Nowhere, The Secret Machines
No Cities Left, The Dears
Underachievers Please Try Harder, Camera Obscura

Coopstar
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Re: Help From the Initiated

Postby Coopstar » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:58 pm

Tom4 wrote:Now Here is Nowhere, The Secret Machines



I have this record and I enjoyed it very much. I was suprised to see nobody talking about it in their end-of-year lists (like I tried to) but then again, it came out earlier last year and by years end everyone was (is) going gaga over Funeral. I like the record alot - it has a very groove-oriented prog feel to it with a definite nod to early Pink Floyd (sans freak outs). Its super accessible and you can easily get into it after a few listens. Check out their website as they have most of the record streaming - see for yourself.

LionIndex
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Postby LionIndex » Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:32 pm

In a Safe Place, The Album Leaf

I think vitas reviewed it here a couple months ago. Personally, I'm not too jazzed about it, but there are a couple songs that are pretty good. I say it's about half and half for me. There's a lot more "random noises" songs than on previous work, so there's more of a departure from Jimmy's work with Tristeza on this one. I like the songs with vocals and a couple other ones, but otherwise they're pretty boring. Think "Moonchild" from the first King Crimson album over and over again, but with more noises. Where One Day I'll Be on Time was minimalist, this more ambient and unstructured.

Misery is a Butterfly, Blonde Redhead

I've seen them live since the album came out, and listened to the album just once. Live seemed better than the album, which journeys into more non-rocking territory than the previous one. There's an organ that keeps showing up, and it seems like it keeps playing the same riff from song to song. So, they're not quite the Sonic Youth clones they used to be, and I don't know if you'll find that good or bad. The album didn't annoy me, and I wasn't compelled to skip through any tracks, but it didn't really grab me either.

LionIndex
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Postby LionIndex » Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:39 pm

Tom, I should also mention that although we typically seem to like the same bands (at least based on your reviews), we have diametrically opposed opinions on what we like about those bands. Spiritualized and BRMC in particular.

However, I stumbled across Broken Social Scene just a couple months ago and it took weeks for that disc to escape my cd player and I've been spreading the gospel to everyone I know, so go figure.

Proptronics
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Postby Proptronics » Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:24 pm

I'll only comment on the ones I've heard so far...


Please Describe Yourself, Dogs Die in Hot Cars
Bad, really bad! I couldn't even get through the first song. It's everything you hated about the nu-ska and more.

Misery is a Butterfly, Blonde Redhead
Beautiful, love this album immensely. It's all swirls and ice and beaty.

In a Safe Place, The Album Leaf
Icy like Blonde Redhead but I think the ice froze. It's a little blah.

Business Casual, Beep Beep
Ok, nothing groundbreaking or even new sounding.

Now Here is Nowhere, The Secret Machines
Straight-forward rock, akin to the Strokes. It has a NYC sound that seems to come with bands like the French Kicks, the Walkmen, the Strokes.

Underachievers Please Try Harder, Camera Obscura
Cute, but it's even more twee than Belle & Sebastian. You have to be in to that if you'll dig it.

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Postby Heitzie » Sat Jan 15, 2005 5:06 pm

I have the Camera Obscura record, it sounds a LOT like Belle and Sebastian, and one song sounds a LOT like "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen. It's a good album. REALLY derivative, but good. Better that than imitating Europe or Bong Jovi, anyway.

The Tegan and Sara record is OK but the prior CD, "If it was you" was a lot better. This CD is a little too downbeat and that seems to reveal the limitations of their sound (uptempo folk/punk/hip-hop) to me. With more production and layered sound it could have been better.

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Postby Chris G » Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:52 am

.
.

Why do you not just go to eMusic or iTunes or at the very least Amazon and listen to some tracks? That's what I've done. Anyway, I'm old. I've only just recently heard of The Dears. I've also heard of Blonde Readhead, Camera Obscura, and The Secret Machines but I don't know a damn thing about any one of them. I have taken the time to look them up online, have a listen, and give my feedback... since you were too lazy to do them same yourself, it has afforded me the opportunity to expose myself to what the younger kids are listening to these days, so for this I thank you...

So Jealous, Tegan and Sara
I know where I've heard this name. They played on Conan O'Brian a few days ago. I was so impressed I turned off the TV. Girl-on-Girl rock, sometimes folksy (sister-on-sister?). I kept waiting for the songs to 'kick in', as every track would tease as if it were going to build up to something... but then slow back down before it ever achieved the momentum it hinted it was building towards. That was actually kind of annoying... no, very annoying. On iTunes, the only listener's compilation it was listed for inclusion in was titled, "Gay Pride Girls", for whatever that's worth. The title track rocked harder than most of the others. I'm a big-big fan of Girlie-Punk bands, but it didn't move me. They're neither hard enough to rock-out, nor soft enough to mellow-out. They're somewhere in that fence-riding soft mooshy middle.

Please Describe Yourself, Dogs Die in Hot Cars
Oh gOD, spare me... a guy version of band named above... but more acoustic strum-strum-stumming... less creative and even more mooshy middle... with no hard outter shell. blah...

Misery is a Butterfly, Blonde Redhead
4AD band, and sounds it. Much of the vocals remind me of the Caroline Crawley tracks from This Motal Coil. They have the melodic feel of Mono, played with strings. They're on 4AD, they're exactly what you'd expect and done very well. If that's what does it for you, buy this CD. It's a sure bet that you cannot go wrong with.

In a Safe Place, The Album Leaf
Hmmm... music to put yourself to sleep to... in a good way. Hypnotic. Also reminds me a bit of Mono, Formica Blues, for different reasons than Blonde Redhead (above)... if the melodic half is removed leaving only the atmospheric quality, more rigid, but a kinship in format and tempo... pleasing to the same ear. Some of it also reminds me of a slower version of Underworld. While this album is not for me, it's not bad either. It might do it for you. Just don't go listening to it in your car at night, you will certainly fall asleep at the wheel, crash and die.

Business Casual, Beep Beep
This is by far the heaviest thing on your list. On one end, some tracks conjured up all kinds of late 80s influences... Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, the Pixies, even the Violent Femmes... yet managed to avoid sounding derivative. Yet, at the other end, they fit well with the guitar-centric bands that are THANK gOD making a comeback. They could please the crowd opening for bands like The Killers, Interpol, Mooney Suzuki, The White Stripes, whatever... though may I add, they sound nothing like any of them.

Now Here is Nowhere, The Secret Machines
Though they have a varied sound from softer tracks, to more upbeat numbers, nothing really caught my ear... I heard nothing to grab onto. Too many of their songs have a long-slow-droning fade-up into. If they clipped that off the start to every track it would only "get on with it already!" a little sooner. That could also explain why all the tracks are too long without good merit. Long songs are fine, every artist doesn't have to cut three minute singles, but if they cut down the intro from a 30 second build on every damn track, it would cut most of them down to about close to 3 minutes and would surely improve them... but that would not save their album enough for me to invest my money in buying a copy.

No Cities Left, The Dears
Some tracks caught my attention more than others, but as a band, they don't stand out for me.

Underachievers Please Try Harder, Camera Obscura
I like this girl's vocals (Tracyanne Campbell), that could win me over alone. The Motown influences are charming. The guy who occasionally sings vocals on some of the less noteworthy tracks should be sacked from the band, or at least relieved of his vocal duties. He adds nothing and takes away too much on an otherwise very pleasing album. On the right day I could really get into this. It's a great album to listen to curled up under the covers eating soup on a rainy day. It wouldn't cheer you up, but it wouldn't bring you down either, it would just embrace the day as it is. Another reviewer on this page makes a Belle & Sebastian comparison to which I will add, they apparently have even shared some common band members.

There, you have my two cents... I had a more smart-aleck way to close this post, but I'll refrain. When I can withstand the temptation to be an ass on this board, I should seize the rare opportunity.

.
.

grounded5am
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Postby grounded5am » Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:09 am

the thing i noticed when hearing the songs on music sites such as amazon or tower is that you don't get a real clear picture of the songs. they're only 30 second clips usually and 30 seconds just isn't enough time to tell whether you like a song. sometimes a song you thought was slow and boring turned out to be some awesome rocker. those 30 seconds you heard could've been the slow part. and sometimes the 30 second clip doesn't even have the vocals in them.

Jake
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Postby Jake » Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:20 am

Chris G wrote:I had a more smart-aleck way to close this post, but I'll refrain. When I can withstand the temptation to be an ass on this board, I should seize the rare opportunity.

You going soft on us?

Mixmaster Shecky
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Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:41 pm

grounded5am wrote:the thing i noticed when hearing the songs on music sites such as amazon or tower is that you don't get a real clear picture of the songs. they're only 30 second clips usually and 30 seconds just isn't enough time to tell whether you like a song.


True-it's really hard to judge from 30-second clips. The RIAA was so fucking stupid to destroy Napster. Back then, when it was still p2p software, I'd download 3 or 4 songs from an album I was interested in and if I liked it, I bought it. It was simple. I bought a ton of cd's when I was using Napster.

Now I just use Carracho and download the whole album. Sometimes I buy it, sometimes I don't. Way to go, RIAA.


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