Despite my best effort to get off the internet, I can’t let this new blog die. Why, because I like to write about music. It’s something that I used to do and dreamed of being a known music critic, now I am relegated to this blog for my own amusement which is bad ass enough for me. I am totally trying to reconnect with music in a deeper way and spending time writing about music forces me to spend time listening to music the same way I did when I was younger. Plus I am trying to learn more about recording engineering and the best way to find out what I want to do with that is by listening to things I like and don’t like. So anyway here is a list of a lot of the stuff I have aquired recently.
She and Him – Volume One
Election Day – Demo
Obscurus Advocam – Verbia Daemonicus
Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
The Field – From Here We Go To Sublime
Deathspel Omega – Fas-Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeterum
fIREHOSE – If’n
Del the Funky Homosapien – Future Development
Primordial – To The Namless Dead
Madonna – Erotica
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mothers Milk (Re-Master)
Bad Brains – I Against I
Bad Brains – Build a Nation
Dalek – Negro Necro Nekros
Swervedriver – Raise
I haven’t listened to all of this and I owe John four reviews of the stuff I got from him from his best of 2007 (which means I have to listen to some of that stuff again because I forgot which one was Obscurus Advocam and which was Deathspel Omega off the top of my head but they were both very very interesting recordings). Anyway, this week I am gonna write about two records. One that I “found” and one that I am totally in love with for so many reasons. She and Him is a band with Zoeey Deschnel from such movies as Elf and Almost Famous and some dude named M. Ward who is kind of popular. They have an album comming out real soon called Volume One on Merge. Yea, it’s leaked and I found it. The other album from the above list I want to talk about is fIREHOSE and their If’n album.
She and Him Voume One Merge Records
This is one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. When it was announced that Zooey Deschnel who has kept so far from doing any musical project for so many years finally gave M. Ward a shot at making her voice and songs come to life the indie world went ape shit. I can’t think of one blog I read that isn’t wet in the crotch over this album. Frankly when I read about it at work I let out a holy shit and then had to explain to my boss why i said holy shit and he didn’t care that much.
So yea, well the anticipation killed me so I fired up the old internet and found this fucker laying out there. This is the problem with the internet, I would have just bought the album if I had read about this fucker in Spin like I used to find out about records back in the day. But instead the internet creates all this fucking hype, that creates this fucking want that you normally wouldn’t have. Back in the day their was a release date and you just had to suck it the fuck up. Like when the Porno For Pyro’s album came out I ditched school and rode my bike to Kemp Mill records to get it. Or the time I went to get Bad Religion’s Recipie for Hate and found out Fugazi’s In on the Kill Taker was out that day. Now I just stir on the internet trolling for leaks because I don’t have to wait, and it sucks, but I admit I do it. Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes not so much. And I always make it a point to buy the album when it comes out because I do want to support this project. And all the bands I am into, but I am tired of the hype machine.
Anyway – this album comes out like tommorow or some shit, maybe next week I can’t remember, but it’s soon so I don’t feel bad about writing about it now.
As for the music well, here is the deal, Zooey Deschenel has a good voice and she uses it well. She does not have a great voice. I mean even for a novice, bullshit blogger, crappy musician I can tell that if she has had training she is ignorning the rules. There are some weaknesses and man it shows when you really listen to this record. And to be honest, I am not sure that M. Ward was the best person to get behind her. I mean the songs are pretty decent, easy to listen to and nice and all, but this does not slay the hell out of me like I hoped it would. I really thought I would melt away, but frankly there isn’t enough variety on this album. Zoeey doesn’t really crawl out of the box that I feel Ward has put her in. It’s kind of a like a Neko Case record actually. Well performed, but not that enthralling. At no moment am I grabbed and thrown against the wall. Nothing on here really makes me want to weep or cry or smile like I feel Deschnel should be able to do.
I was hoping for a face stomper and instead I got a nice record. And maybe that’s the problem, this album holds my hand and puts it’s head on my shoulder, but it’s there are no fights. And a relationship isn’t any good unless you fight from time to time. It proves the passion is there. This is like a kiss on the cheek and I want some make up fucking after a shouting match.
Having said all that the album opener “Sentimental Heart” is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long long time. It’s just a good mid-tempo broken heart song and Zoeey owns the shit out of it. And I also have to give it to M. Ward he really knows his 50’s pop music. This is some Tin Pan Alley stuff. It’s executed by someone who obviously loves the shit out of this music and it fits Deschnel’s voice quite well.
Everything on this album is nice. I’ve said that a lot I know, but that’s really what Volume One is a nice album. If this was something later in Deschnel’s music career, I might not be so hard on it, and I might even enjoy it more, but damn it I just think she has more in her then this. Ward is vocally absent from this as well and I think that it’s a shame because I think they could have explored that dynamic to great effect. Instead he becomes a producer of a Do-Wop revival record. Perhaps it was good the dup avoided the alt-country route that I sort of expected, but the opening track proves that they didn’t need a revival at all to put behind Deschnel, they could have just written some great fucking songs instead.
fIREHOSE – If’n – SST
It took me a long time to finally pick up a fIREHOSE album but thank god sometimes for depression. See when I get depressed I go used CD shopping. It’s the only thing that makes me feel good. My last visit was pretty awesome and I picked this gem up for just a little bit of cash and a whole lot of love. fIREHOSE. Awesome.
Okay first off the Red Hot Chili Peppers mention them in a song. Mike Watt and George Hurley from the Minutemen are in this band and the album has a song called “For the Singer of REM” that is fucking just like an REM song. So I mean this is a band that I need to know and now I do.
Right off the bat, the song “Sometimes” is one of the best songs ever written. I put If’n in my car stero while I was driving around Northern Virginia and I instantly smiled. I mean it’s just this weird song where Watt is playing this funky groovy bass line that is kinda long and drawn out, unlike the Minutemen in a way, but so much Watt. George Hurly, some how contained by the more natural sound structure proves just how great a drummer he is. Then the next song, “Hear Me” sounds like a Minutemen out-take and Hurley is fucking classic Hurley with his fast as shit drumming and fills all over the place. The guitars also have the tonal qualities of one of my favorite records “Party Bomb” by a band called the Surf Punks. It’s a real Eighties sound man, and it would probably annoy the shit out of people if they heard it today, but I don’t know when the HOSE does it, something just really magical happens.
Ed Crawford had some serious shoes to fill in the absence of D. Boone (the great great Dennis Boone, I send you love) and he holds his own. A much more straightforward musician but one who doesn’t let that get in the way of him being comfrotable with himself. “Honey Please” is a Watt penned song that is a down home shit kicker kind of feel to it and Ed owns it like any bar band wizard would own a song like that, but in the end it’s just another interpetation of Watt. Crawford’s best moment though is the accoustic “In Memory of Elizabeth Cotton,” a personal Spiel with very much a John Denver quality to it (if you talk shit about John Denver you can go to fucking HELL) that really is the essence of what song writing and music making is all about.
fIREHOSE is no replacement for the Minutemen and I am surprised that they lasted as long as they did. I am not really surprised that they didn’t get the recognition as the might trio from Pedro, but this music is still very passionate and quite beautiful. I doubt many of the punk rock kids would really get into this and I am sure the indie rock fuckers would probably find this laughable today, but fIREHOSE has a new devotee. Despite the dated sounds of a lot of the music, the truth and beauty shine through and that is all that matters.
So that’s that for this week I guess. I know I said I would review the new Paint it Black album and the new Lemuria album, but I haven’t listened to either of them in a while. I am consuming music faster then I can really listen to it. I am getting a bit greedy (and cash tight) so I will probably calm it the fuck down. I sort of wish I could confirm a few albums that are supposed to come out this year but I can’t really seem to focus on new music this year because not a lot is grabbing me and so far everything that has come out new this year is a bit of a let down. I need to revisit some stuff. I know it’s only two months in, but man this time last year I was already knee deep in Lifetime and Bloc Party. Who knows what 08 has in store. Hopefully something pretty intense.
See you around the bend.