Saturday, October 24, 2015

Honest/ly!? Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane - 2002

WAY back in the fairly early oughts...

There once was an indie group from LA
That had lots of insight for their day
Known once as Kara's Flowers
And now as something louder
It's any wonder they're still relevant today

And I stand by that...  However, before I spout off about how much I dislike Maroon 5 these days, I have to go back to when they were great.  I can promise you that for those that haven't heard the early workings of Maroon 5, this would sound like a completely different group.  I'll save the rest of anything I would have said about them or this album when I pick it for a spinning post in the future.  To that end, indeed I'm picking this album soon after it's official proper vinyl release next month.  Check it out and pre-order it on Amazon, and for the official announcement head over to Modern Vinyl

Harder To Breathe

Harder To Breathe was the first single from this album.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon (2015)

I think I may have mentioned it once before, but I plan on revisiting a few super old posts from over a year ago when I was just making posts that consisted of a sentence or two and ending with a remark as to why you should own something on vinyl.  Fast forward to now where I have the same thing with videos and sound clips and about 10 paragraphs ending quite the same way.  (Perhaps I should consider a format change soon?)  Regardless, one of those old posts was Lana Del Rey's  (LDR) Ultraviolence from last year.  The reason that I need to revisit that post and others is, that I have a lot more to say about it that I just couldn't condense into a few sentences.  That said, here we are a year later with another album from LDR, that for different reasons is just as good as, if not better than Ultraviolence.  

At some point LDR figured that she was done with making new music and we almost never saw Ultraviolence.  At the time, given the experimental psychedelic indie rock I'm sure a lot of people felt the same way.  It would have been a career highlight that's for sure.  How was anyone to know that just a few months after the release of Ultraviolence that she would begin work on her 4th studio album, today's pick, Honeymoon.  I made mention of how good this album might be when the video for Honeymoon was released.  


So here's where things get awesome.  This woman is downright sultry.  She may have the oldest soul of any 30 year old around.  There's a haunting mystique behind everything she does.  Whether it's a short film not to dissimilar from above or her music.  It's almost like she sings as if she were an art noir piece.  Kind of like music you would see in a fine art museum as it were.  There aren't too many mainstream artists in the world that can make even the most downright bizarre lyrics sound like a story you want to hear.  I'll even go a step farther, she has always had a way of making the most vulgar lyrics sound NPR ready, turns out they're good too.

High By The Beach

High By The Beach was the first official video/single released in August from this album, and it's easy to figure why.  It's got a very generic beat, and "fuck the norm" lyrics, that combined made for a very marketable single.  It was also about as close anything from Ultraviolence, her biggest selling album,  as you're going to hear.  

Music To Watch Boys To

The 2nd single, Music To Watch Boys To, sounds like something that that a self aware teenager would write about in her journal.  Somehow, you might feel a little dirty listening in on it.  Nothing wrong with that ,as a matter of fact, I'm going to be bold and suggest that LDR has succeeded in making pop music for adults.  How awesome would it be if there were a mainstream movement in where more artists did just that.  Drown out the repetitive candy pop that lever so popular now?  Sure it exists in spades, bot not everyone is fortunate enough to live in a major city where live music venues cater to that regularly.  You shouldn't have to live in LA, NY, Seattle or Boston to hear great music.  (Clearly a lot of you don't cause you're listening to it here, shout out to the fans in Russia!)

This album released in September, debuted at #2 on the charts.  Once again, LDR partnered with Urban Outfitters for a "limited" edition vinyl version of this album which looks great, and sounds really good for colored vinyl.  Both records are candy red translucent and it includes a 16 page picture book inside of that huge gate fold.  It felt great to open, but I didn't get it from Urban Outfitters.  A reader of this blog sent it to me, and for that I thank you kind stranger.  (Hey, my Discogs want list is right up top, just sayin...)    I will never advocate Urban Outfitters as a destination for your vinyl needs, however, I'm not going to stop you either.  Vinyl is vinyl, and I say if you can stomach Urban Outfitters Hipster chic, go for it.  You can alternatively find the regular release of this album, but it's a bit more difficult as it wasn't given a proper North American release, any standard vinyl release will be an import for now. 

Next week, it's all about the throw back, classic 80's cheese. {Giggles}

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mindless Self Promotion: There Is An Update Coming!

Yep, it's actually really red.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...  I know.  I'm super late and I'm super sorry, but it's been a busy week.  I'm going to do my best pump out this pick for Saturday 10/17 as soon as I can.  Just know that part of the reason I haven't had time to do a proper post this week is because I've been sourcing new vinyl!  I spent a good chunk of today in Hamden CT at Replay Records.  If you get the chance, I highly recommend that you stop in here and sort through the used collection.  Tons of blues, rock, soul and R&B.  All of it's in fantastic condition and you'll definitely find something you never knew you needed.  

Tomorrow, Saturday, I'm actually going back to Replay, and of course I'm also hitting up Red Scroll Records in Wallingford.  I highly recommend them as well for a lot of reasons but their extensive and ever changing used offerings and the single best underground selection of music I've ever seen outside of Detroit or Seattle is more than worth the trip up there.  

For updates to this site don't forget to follow the twitter account, @WMVCulture 

There is no newsletter, so don't bother signing up for it at the bottom of the page here.  I'm far too lazy to edit the code to get rid of it, and even lazier to write a newsletter...  Which when you think about it seems a bit silly given that any updates or "news" that I would have would be covered here anyway. 

Thank you kind stranger for sending me an original 1984 copy of The Cars Heart Beat City.  Crazy, I never expected someone to go through my Discogs wishlist and send me anything, but it's there and they did it.  Many internet blessings to you.  Awesome record, and I'll definitely pick it some day. 

Keep spinning.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Black Angels - Directions To See A Ghost (2008)

Way back in the days before this blog was a blog, I posted an awesome find from The Black Angels.  See it here.  It's from when I was restricted to 1 or 2 sentence vinyl picks and "Vinyl Fridays" was little more than an Instagram/Facebook post once a week or so.

The 2nd album from the Austin "Tripster Rock" psychedelic group, The Black Angels, is nothing short of musical acid for the modern day.  For over 70 minutes, and 3 pieces of vinyl, you really trip the hell out to what has the be the perfect blend of Velvet Underground meets The Doors meets filthiest blues sound you can find.  Now, this isn't music you get high to, this is music you enjoy to feel high with.

You have to work up to the title track that is just so deep, at some point it feeds itself and only till the song needs to end, does it end.  Make sense?  Check it out, but listen to it with headphones for the full immersion effect.

Science Killer

Yeah but dat bassline tho..
As a group the Black Angels were born of their influence from The Velvet Underground.  They got their name from The Velvet Underground song, Black Angel Death Song from their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico in 1967.  The Black Angels were largely an underground act till 2006 when they released their first album, Passover.  Passover is actually better than Science Killer, and as such a bit more difficult to find, as such if I stumble onto it in my travels and crate digging, you best believe I'll go out of my way to pick and post it immediately.  When I say largely underground, I mean psychedelic rock as a whole is still a sub genre of music that will never achieve main stream popularity.  Possibly not even the levels it saw in the last 60's through the 70's.  Psych rock more or less morphed into alternative and variants thereof.  Case in point, the most popular psych rock groups active now are probably The Flaming Lipps and Tame Impala.  15 years ago, it would have been The Stone Temple Pilots, and 40 years ago it was The Who, Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, The Doors, and so on...

The other single from this album, the lead single, was the one that hooked you and sold you on the fact that their last album wasn't a fluke.  You On The Run was an exercise  in mindful sound.

You On The Run

The lyrics that the group weaved together tell some of the most tortured stories that you'll ever hear set to a trip out album.  They're literally haunting.  Some may even consider them a variant of dark wave.  Listen to the story that is Never/Ever.


Yeah but dat intro tho...

For the over 8 minutes of epic mind-fuck of a song, you hear the story of a kid in WWII.  Who does that!?  I knew I was hooked on this group when heard their first single from their first album, Passover way back in 2006.  It wasn't really till about a year or 2 later when they licensed tracks from that album out to movies and commercials that people took them seriously.  You've probably heard that single, Young Man Dead in a few places.  They got really popular in 2008 when that single was bundled with a few popular video games and again in 2010 when Fable 3 was released as the soundtrack to the teaser trailer.  The incredible thing about these guys, they've managed to never sell out and remain underground while making money doing what they're best at.  You'll hear their music all over the place if you know what you're listening for, but you'll always end up music searching them to find out, "Who did this dope track?"

Another question real quick...  How on earth did this album not win any awards?  Where's the category for best indie/underground artist?  We need to start a movement here....  Just sayin'.

When you think about it, aren't those the best, real indie bands?  The ones that are so awesome to you that you know them better than anybody else.  You won't hear it on the radio, and you'll probably never seek them out on iTunes or Google Play, but you'll definitely see a show if they're in town because they're playing at your favorite small venue.

This album, Directions To See a Ghost was out in 2008 in a multi part release.  It was kind of awesome the way they did it too.  If you were silly enough to buy the album digitally, you could go into some record stores and exchange the code for an actual hard copy of it.  One of the benefits afforded to indie artists is their ability to do cool stuff for their fans.  Having been to quite a few Black Angels live shows, I can tell you first hand you're not leaving without your monies worth.  I snagged this 3LP behemoth of an album from Red Scroll Records in Wallingford CT on a whim.  It was a tough decision between this and something equally as spectacular that I'll own someday but that's the thrill of the hunt now isn't it?  Sometimes you have to catch and release till the time is right. 


Next week, probably Thursday again, something new that I took a leap of faith on.  Matter of fact, I haven't even listened to it yet.  Cant wait to hear what she's done this time, but even if it's half as good as her last one, I love it already.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Dead Weather - Dodge And Burn (2015)

Dat turntable tho!

Readers, music fans, rock and blues fans alike, we need to talk.  Since this corner of the web started as a semi weekly Instagram 2 sentence post of my favorite music on vinyl, I made sure to only pick things that you needed to hear and own only on vinyl.  At some point that shifted.  It slowly became all things that you need to hear on an actual record.  Then it went a step farther, it became anything that you needed to own on vinyl and appreciate in music and pop culture with all of my opinion that you can handle.  Then there's today.  For the first time ever, I'm about to pick a piece of vinyl that I'm going to be critical of, not too critical of course because I would never spend money and invest time in something that I don't care about and didn't like.  I will however take the time and have made an investment in something that is important for the rock and blues fans, fans of music and you readers alike.

RE: Jack White, we need to talk.  Not a lot of people will deny the genius that is, Jack White.  Gifted guitarist, accomplished lyricist, grunge/garage/punk/blues rocker.  You name it, Jack can influence it.  Jack's influence on other artists is something of note.  The combination of Jack and Meg White gave us 14 years of some of the filthiest garage rock since the 70's and basically signed off on the alternative rock era that was the 90's.  Later working with members of what will become The Dead Weather, and Ohio garage group The Greenhorners, we were gifted The Raconteurs. The Go and The Uphosterers really aren't worth talking about as the former was a pet project to keep him busy between Elephant and Get Behind Me Satan.  The latter was a horrible attempt to become an all male version of a core grunge version of The White Stripes.  All that aside, Jack struck gold with The Dead Weather.  

The Dead Weather comprised of members from The Kills, Queens of The Stone Age, and The Raconteurs, have now put out 3 albums.  Each one slightly less like themselves than the one that preceded it, but all of them uniquely spectacular in it's own way.  I'm getting way ahead of myself.  For some more random facts and history, I direct you to a previous post featuring The Dead Weather here.  It was their 2nd album, which by all rights wasn't too bad.

This past Friday, Jack White and The Dead Weather, (Let's face it, that's clearly what's happening here.), released the groups 3rd studio album Dodge and Burn.  From the album cover, you kind of get a sense of what's about to go down here.  But this began long before that.  If you recall a Sirious/ly post not too long ago either, this also happened.  The 3rd and final single released before the albums' launch gave us all hope and a reason for waiting 5 long years for a follow up to Sea of Cowards.

I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)

Awesome right!?  Strong way to lead off the record too.  Hold on a sec.  That was the 3rd single released in advance of this album.  Why is that the only one you heard?  Ok, in fairness it was released about month before the album, so there's a lot to be said for promotion, and well if you've been paying attention here, it's not like it was a secret or anything.  The first single was out back in January of last year, Well, here's where things start go slightly wrong.  Kudos for Jack White planting the seed and all teasing new material from a great group, minus points for basically forgetting about it to promote your solo project only to pick it up later like a true side project and less of a priority.  In doing that, suddenly The Dead Weather became a red-headed step child group so to speak. Now this was either brilliant or troublesome.  Brilliant in the respect that you tease an album over a year in advance and lead up to the killer track just before the drop, which is precisely what I went with, or completely troublesome in that you tease an album well over a year before it's release and try to save face with a killer track in I Feel Love.  I'll let the reviewers and forum trolls debate that one.  I'm going with the former given that this group has been consistently good

So then, what's the problem, really?  Well, in a nutshell after listening to this album multiple times since it's release last Friday, I've come to the conclusion that it's simply a case of Jack White being somewhat of an ego maniac.  Jack White is not a drummer.  For a second though, let's pretend that he is.  Unless the genre of music is Drum & Bass, the drum shouldn't be the center of the musical arrangement.  Jack's mediocre at best drumming skill is all over this mother-fucker, and frankly it's not all bad, if this album was released at the height of the alternative music boom almost 20 years ago.  Anybody that want's to hear Jack White's skill should not hear him as a drummer.  Listen to him as a guitarist.  Trust me.  The fact that he not only over played with the same style through the record, he insisted on dropping vocals in tandem often ranging from rap to his quirky falsetto flutter thing that's actually quite good, on his solo records.

That's the issue, this isn't a solo record.  What's worse is, Jack White at some point forgot that.  He was either too busy making The Kills sound like The White Stripes, or forming Jack White and The Dead Weather.  If you listen to this album with any kind of expectations, don't listen to it thinking that you're going to get anything more than deep driving riffs and sound blues checking from the ever literally smokey Alison Mosshart.  As you heard above, there's about 2 songs on the album that drive as hard as that one.  Let Me Through, and Mile Markers stand out.  Then there's my personal favorite that I have listened to in an unhealthy dose, Cop and Go.

And then there's Alison Mosshart.  Since The Kills she's been the punk hottie with a voice that could have piloted the Riot Grrl movement.  She uses her core punk style to deliver some very in your face vocals.  Listening to her on any track you really get a feeling that she's about one of the angriest vocalists in the game.  Having seen The Dead Weather live, and being the fan of The Kills that I am, I know that to not be true.  Crazy as it sounds, she's just that gifted and underrated as a vocalist. It's not till the last track on this album however that you realize that.

Impossible Winner

Yikes.  This song is almost haunting.  My only wish is that Alison would quit smoking.  She's about 1 album away from becoming Stevie Nicks...  I'm not joking.  In any event, there was an awesome magazine out years ago called Blender.  It was under the umbrella of the guys that print the  Adolescent porn magazine Maxim.  Blender had this feature that I loved.  It took a bunch of releases from an artist and ranked 3 of them from "must buy", to "good", to "for fans only".  I'm taking that road with the Dead Weather now, even though they only have 3 albums in the can.  Horehound, their first one is far and away one of the greatest albums ever made.  Find it and love it.  Sea of Cowards, was their 2nd and 2nd best album.  So worth a listen to multiple times on vinyl.  This album, Dodge and Burn, is for fans only.  Jack White made the Kills worse, and the Kills made the White Stripes better.  Thumbs up if you get me on that last sentence.  I hope Lazaretto wasn't the last good Jack White solo album.