October 7th, 2008

Pop Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

We’re studying secondary dominants in theory right now and Prof. Long has been making a lot quippy remarks about pop music. Today however was the cherry on the sundae. I feel I should mention that Prof. Long is a composer and holds a fancy doctorate in something pertaining to music (I don’t remember whether it’s theory or composition.) To Prof. Long pop starts are illiterate idiots who degrade the artistry of music. I sighed heavily and closed my eyes every time he mentioned pop today, mainly because I was thinking of skipping today’s class and was wishing I had. You see I wish I could immerse myself in pop at all times and really want to spend the rest of my life listnening and studying pop music. Yes the people who perform pop music can be considered the equivalent of trained monkeys (I’m thinking of Britney Spears and her ilk when I say this) but the people who write pop songs are every bit as sophisticated as classical composers. A person can’t write a good pop song without knowing what they’re doing. Singer-songwriters may not get a formal education in theory (most of the time anyway) but they know what they’re doing. They have to. You can write mediocre crap and get no where very quickly in the music business. It takes skill and a thorough understanding of pop music to really get anywhere in the business (at least the mainstream business.) Writing off pop music as the domain of idiots is like accusing Judy Bloom of not being a good writer. Pop should not be a dirty word in the world of music.

Original post by imnore

>

September 26th, 2008

Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews » Spiralling in Lucid Dreams But I Never Miss a Beat

[On a side note, before I even start the entry: God I’m so clever]
“Spiralling” – Keane
Keane has always had the potential to be incredibly emo. The band’s lyrics are incredibly depressing, even when the song itself is in a major key. What stops Keane from being the emo kings is the main song writer, Tim Rice-Oxley’s, proclivity for technological experimentation. Rice-Oxley’s love of synthesizer and sound effects, as well as the band’s overall aesthetic, keeps Keane’s depressing lyrics from turning the band into another one-note band. This fact is crystallized in Keane’s latest single “Spiralling.” If one was to simply read the lyrics, with no knowledge of what the actual song sounded like or who the band was, it could be assumed that “Spiralling” was by a run of the mill emo band. However Keane’s heavy use of synthesizer, drum effects, and various digital doo-hickeys along with Tom Chaplin distinctive vocals mark the song as one by Keane, who are anything but run of the mill. The only part that can’t be taken seriously by anyone who has heard “Once in a Lifetime” is the spoken bridge, which just sounds too ridiculous coming from Tom Chaplin. In all other aspects “Spiralling” is an interesting and musically adventurous song that leads Keane’s sound in a new direction without being jarring. Grade: B+

“Lucid Dreams” – Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand have always been clever. Since their debut, the band has been able to write pop music that has depth without sounding pretentious. With “Lucid Dreams” Franz Ferdinand returns to the dance floor that they came from while continuing on the intellectual, and at times nonsensical, path that their lyrics have been going down since their second album. The band also continues it’s musical expansion in its incorporation of mood-setting instrumentation and guitar effects while Alex Kapranos reaches into his falsetto range during “Lucid Dreams” chorus and bridge. The band also more fully incorporate the keyboards that had taken a back seat on their second album which gives the song a fuller and more danceable sound. It seems that despite their long absence Franz Ferdinand are still quite clever. Grade: A

“Never Miss A Beat” – Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs biggest problem is that they must be listened to repeatedly before being appreciated. Unlike their peers, Kaiser Chiefs tend to write songs that must be listened to a few times before the inherent good qualities can be heard. Sometimes a few times turns into 10 times, but eventually the good in the song will come through. In the past Nick Hodgson, the man behind the majority of the band’s catalogue, has been able to write a few tunes that are instantly loveable by the masses. This time however it seemed that he was unable to produce such a song. “Never Miss a Beat” consists of boring instrumentals and inane lyrics and can be described as mediocre at best. At worst it’s a poorly written try at social commentary from a band that can do so much better. Kaiser Chiefs are no strangers to making a socio-political point, but in “Never Miss a Beat” the band comes across as platitude spewing rockers. But, as with the majority of the Kaiser Chiefs catalogue, it has it’s redeeming qualities. It just might take a few listens to hear. Grade: C

Original post by Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews

>

September 26th, 2008

Spiralling in Lucid Dreams But I Never Miss a Beat

[On a side note, before I even start the entry: God I’m so clever]
“Spiralling” – Keane
Keane has always had the potential to be incredibly emo. The band’s lyrics are incredibly depressing, even when the song itself is in a major key. What stops Keane from being the emo kings is the main song writer, Tim Rice-Oxley’s, proclivity for technological experimentation. Rice-Oxley’s love of synthesizer and sound effects, as well as the band’s overall aesthetic, keeps Keane’s depressing lyrics from turning the band into another one-note band. This fact is crystallized in Keane’s latest single “Spiralling.” If one was to simply read the lyrics, with no knowledge of what the actual song sounded like or who the band was, it could be assumed that “Spiralling” was by a run of the mill emo band. However Keane’s heavy use of synthesizer, drum effects, and various digital doo-hickeys along with Tom Chaplin distinctive vocals mark the song as one by Keane, who are anything but run of the mill. The only part that can’t be taken seriously by anyone who has heard “Once in a Lifetime” is the spoken bridge, which just sounds too ridiculous coming from Tom Chaplin. In all other aspects “Spiralling” is an interesting and musically adventurous song that leads Keane’s sound in a new direction without being jarring. Grade: B+

“Lucid Dreams” – Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand have always been clever. Since their debut, the band has been able to write pop music that has depth without sounding pretentious. With “Lucid Dreams” Franz Ferdinand returns to the dance floor that they came from while continuing on the intellectual, and at times nonsensical, path that their lyrics have been going down since their second album. The band also continues it’s musical expansion in its incorporation of mood-setting instrumentation and guitar effects while Alex Kapranos reaches into his falsetto range during “Lucid Dreams” chorus and bridge. The band also more fully incorporate the keyboards that had taken a back seat on their second album which gives the song a fuller and more danceable sound. It seems that despite their long absence Franz Ferdinand are still quite clever. Grade: A

“Never Miss A Beat” – Kaiser Chiefs
Kaiser Chiefs biggest problem is that they must be listened to repeatedly before being appreciated. Unlike their peers, Kaiser Chiefs tend to write songs that must be listened to a few times before the inherent good qualities can be heard. Sometimes a few times turns into 10 times, but eventually the good in the song will come through. In the past Nick Hodgson, the man behind the majority of the band’s catalogue, has been able to write a few tunes that are instantly loveable by the masses. This time however it seemed that he was unable to produce such a song. “Never Miss a Beat” consists of boring instrumentals and inane lyrics and can be described as mediocre at best. At worst it’s a poorly written try at social commentary from a band that can do so much better. Kaiser Chiefs are no strangers to making a socio-political point, but in “Never Miss a Beat” the band comes across as platitude spewing rockers. But, as with the majority of the Kaiser Chiefs catalogue, it has it’s redeeming qualities. It just might take a few listens to hear. Grade: C

Original post by imnore

>

September 18th, 2008

Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews » Watch Your Phraseology!

A few months ago I wrote an entry about a line from the Proclaimers’ song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” were I explained what a certain couplet meant because I didn’t know what it meant and found the definition interesting. Well, I’m going to do the exact same thing with another song, this time by Supergrass, for exactly the same reasons. However my reason for figuring out the lyrics is slightly different, but still related to boredom so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details. Let’s just say I was bored and wanted the issue cleared.
The line in mind is from the song “Alright” which is from Supergrass’ first album I Should Coco which was released in 1995. The line is as follows:

We are young, we run green

Now I had deciphered the last bit as something else, but I was intrigued by what “run green” meant. So I googled the phrase and came up with this:

Run Green: the act of selling pot.

Unlike with havering this definition was more logical, but still interesting given the context within the song and actions taken in later verses (driving a car into a fence and still be alright for instance.) So there you have it, your little slang lesson for today.
Hopefully I’ll be posting more in this blog in the coming weeks due to an onslaught of interesting releases. In fact Jenny Lewis comes out with her first/second solo effort this upcoming Tuesday and then three weeks later Keane comes out with their third album. Ben Folds enters the picture as well and of course there’s the highly anticipated third album from Kaiser Chiefs, which will doubtless get it’s own song by song review. Until then, keep listening.
Oh! Radio starts next week! Monday’s 7-8 at wmwc.umw.edu. Be sure to listen ;D And kudos to anyone who gets the movie I’m referencing in the entry title.

Original post by Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews

>

September 18th, 2008

Watch Your Phraseology!

A few months ago I wrote an entry about a line from the Proclaimers’ song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” were I explained what a certain couplet meant because I didn’t know what it meant and found the definition interesting. Well, I’m going to do the exact same thing with another song, this time by Supergrass, for exactly the same reasons. However my reason for figuring out the lyrics is slightly different, but still related to boredom so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details. Let’s just say I was bored and wanted the issue cleared.
The line in mind is from the song “Alright” which is from Supergrass’ first album I Should Coco which was released in 1995. The line is as follows:

We are young, we run green

Now I had deciphered the last bit as something else, but I was intrigued by what “run green” meant. So I googled the phrase and came up with this:

Run Green: the act of selling pot.

Unlike with havering this definition was more logical, but still interesting given the context within the song and actions taken in later verses (driving a car into a fence and still be alright for instance.) So there you have it, your little slang lesson for today.
Hopefully I’ll be posting more in this blog in the coming weeks due to an onslaught of interesting releases. In fact Jenny Lewis comes out with her first/second solo effort this upcoming Tuesday and then three weeks later Keane comes out with their third album. Ben Folds enters the picture as well and of course there’s the highly anticipated third album from Kaiser Chiefs, which will doubtless get it’s own song by song review. Until then, keep listening.
Oh! Radio starts next week! Monday’s 7-8 at wmwc.umw.edu. Be sure to listen ;D And kudos to anyone who gets the movie I’m referencing in the entry title.

Original post by imnore

>

August 7th, 2008

Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews » Signatures

Sorry for the lack of updates. Not much happening in this part of my life really. However the fall is going to see lots of reviews which I plan on putting up here. Anyway, apologies for the lateness of posting this particular entry. Busy week and all that.

I wasn’t really that excited about seeing We Are Scientists again. Their second album leaves much to be desired and with the departure of Tapper, my respect for the band had taken a serious hit. But Sophie had purchased the tickets before either of us really understood how disappointing Brain Thrust Mastery is, so there was nothing to be done. Suck it up and enjoy the concert as much as possible. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as all that.

“So the merch guy left the band as well?” – Sophie (in a hypothetical question to Keith Murray)

At the last concert Sophie and I went to at the Black Cat, various members of the bands had somehow been put in charged of selling their own merchandise. The person who been selling for the White Rabbits had seemed somewhat disgruntled about the whole thing, which is why I ended up with a shirt a size too small, but it had been cool nonetheless. However, I thought that the whole thing had been because of the relative fame of the bands involved. So you can imagine my surprise when I see Keith Murray fronting the merch table.
Needless to say I flapped around a lot, was completely indecisive about which shirt I wanted and forgot what size shirt I wanted when it was my turn. Gorgeousness does that to me.

Nore: “Could you sign this?”
Keith: [swats card]
Nore: [makes small pouty face]
Keith: [signs card]

The first opening act was thoroughly unimpressive (I decided, after maybe three songs that “they [were] trying too hard”). In the lull between them (Apache Beat) and the second opening act (Oxford Collapse) I posited various actions I should take given that Keith was still manning the merch stand. None of them actually made sense and some involved taunting him about Tapper’s departure from the band. This line of conversation was ended when I needed to use the loo (three diet cokes at dinner and two glasses of water, plus another diet coke at the club). Which was when I saw Chris Caine, bassist for the band, nonchalantly standing and talking to someone. When I came back from the loo I posited that I should get the two’s signatures, since they were so readily available to the audience. Sophie concurred and we agreed that I would get Keith’s signature and Sophie would get Chris’. After much hemming and hawing and general nervousness about the whole business I finally got the signature (hence the above little bit of dialogue).
Photobucket (A very big version of the actual signature)

Sophie then tried to renig on her deal, but I wimped out from getting Chris’ signature so Sophie agreed to get it for me. She missed the first two songs of Oxford Collapses’ set, but she got the signature.
Photobucket (Also a very big version of the actual signature)

The actual show was lack luster, but much of that opinion is due to the fact that I didn’t care for the first opener, was coming down from an adrenaline rush during the second, and was completely un-enthused for the head liners. I’m sure actual fans of the band really had a fantastic time.

We Are Scientists

  1. Nobody Move
  2. Chick Lit
  3. This Scene is Dead
  4. Inaction
  5. Impatience
  6. Let’s See It
  7. Cash Cow
  8. Can’t Lose
  9. Callbacks
  10. That’s What Counts
  11. After Hours
  12. Textbook
  13. Tonight
  14. Dinosaurs
  15. It’s a hit

Encore

  • Lethal Enforcer
  • Great Escape

Original post by Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews

>

August 7th, 2008

Signatures

Sorry for the lack of updates. Not much happening in this part of my life really. However the fall is going to see lots of reviews which I plan on putting up here. Anyway, apologies for the lateness of posting this particular entry. Busy week and all that.

I wasn’t really that excited about seeing We Are Scientists again. Their second album leaves much to be desired and with the departure of Tapper, my respect for the band had taken a serious hit. But Sophie had purchased the tickets before either of us really understood how disappointing Brain Thrust Mastery is, so there was nothing to be done. Suck it up and enjoy the concert as much as possible. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as all that.

“So the merch guy left the band as well?” – Sophie (in a hypothetical question to Keith Murray)

At the last concert Sophie and I went to at the Black Cat, various members of the bands had somehow been put in charged of selling their own merchandise. The person who been selling for the White Rabbits had seemed somewhat disgruntled about the whole thing, which is why I ended up with a shirt a size too small, but it had been cool nonetheless. However, I thought that the whole thing had been because of the relative fame of the bands involved. So you can imagine my surprise when I see Keith Murray fronting the merch table.
Needless to say I flapped around a lot, was completely indecisive about which shirt I wanted and forgot what size shirt I wanted when it was my turn. Gorgeousness does that to me.

Nore: “Could you sign this?”
Keith: [swats card]
Nore: [makes small pouty face]
Keith: [signs card]

The first opening act was thoroughly unimpressive (I decided, after maybe three songs that “they [were] trying too hard”). In the lull between them (Apache Beat) and the second opening act (Oxford Collapse) I posited various actions I should take given that Keith was still manning the merch stand. None of them actually made sense and some involved taunting him about Tapper’s departure from the band. This line of conversation was ended when I needed to use the loo (three diet cokes at dinner and two glasses of water, plus another diet coke at the club). Which was when I saw Chris Caine, bassist for the band, nonchalantly standing and talking to someone. When I came back from the loo I posited that I should get the two’s signatures, since they were so readily available to the audience. Sophie concurred and we agreed that I would get Keith’s signature and Sophie would get Chris’. After much hemming and hawing and general nervousness about the whole business I finally got the signature (hence the above little bit of dialogue).
Photobucket (A very big version of the actual signature)

Sophie then tried to renig on her deal, but I wimped out from getting Chris’ signature so Sophie agreed to get it for me. She missed the first two songs of Oxford Collapses’ set, but she got the signature.
Photobucket (Also a very big version of the actual signature)

The actual show was lack luster, but much of that opinion is due to the fact that I didn’t care for the first opener, was coming down from an adrenaline rush during the second, and was completely un-enthused for the head liners. I’m sure actual fans of the band really had a fantastic time.

We Are Scientists

  1. Nobody Move
  2. Chick Lit
  3. This Scene is Dead
  4. Inaction
  5. Impatience
  6. Let’s See It
  7. Cash Cow
  8. Can’t Lose
  9. Callbacks
  10. That’s What Counts
  11. After Hours
  12. Textbook
  13. Tonight
  14. Dinosaurs
  15. It’s a hit

Encore

  • Lethal Enforcer
  • Great Escape

Original post by imnore

>

July 8th, 2008

Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews » Miller is Haunting Me

This is a bit out of character for this blog (completely in character for my other blogs), so I apologize if it sounds less than scholarly.
This past fall, while taking Rock/Soul/Progressive, one of the books we were required to read was Flowers in the Dustbin by James Miller. Everyone in the class agreed that Miller was an old coot who, despite his angst over the “death” of rock, provided an excellent baseline upon which to build a better understanding of rock. However, he was still an old coot who rankled me with his dismissal of everything that came after the death of Elvis and most of what came after the break-up of the Beatles. When I finished the course, I was positive that would the last time I would encounter Mr. Miller. Oh, I was so wrong.
In light of my decision to become the best DJ ever (and that’s a hard goal to reach given the history that precedes me), I’ve been reading about the history of radio on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, while reading Marc Fisher’s book on American radio from the late 1940’s til the present, I was intrigued by a statistic on radio listener-ship in cars. So, in a real first for me, I looked read the notes section. A few end-notes up there was a note for “Miller, Flowers, 55.” After scanning the end-notes, I realized that yes, Fisher really did use Flowers in the Dustbin as a source. Which was when I came to the conclusion that Miller is haunting me. That’s it.

Original post by Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews

>

July 8th, 2008

Miller is Haunting Me

This is a bit out of character for this blog (completely in character for my other blogs), so I apologize if it sounds less than scholarly.
This past fall, while taking Rock/Soul/Progressive, one of the books we were required to read was Flowers in the Dustbin by James Miller. Everyone in the class agreed that Miller was an old coot who, despite his angst over the “death” of rock, provided an excellent baseline upon which to build a better understanding of rock. However, he was still an old coot who rankled me with his dismissal of everything that came after the death of Elvis and most of what came after the break-up of the Beatles. When I finished the course, I was positive that would the last time I would encounter Mr. Miller. Oh, I was so wrong.
In light of my decision to become the best DJ ever (and that’s a hard goal to reach given the history that precedes me), I’ve been reading about the history of radio on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, while reading Marc Fisher’s book on American radio from the late 1940’s til the present, I was intrigued by a statistic on radio listener-ship in cars. So, in a real first for me, I looked read the notes section. A few end-notes up there was a note for “Miller, Flowers, 55.” After scanning the end-notes, I realized that yes, Fisher really did use Flowers in the Dustbin as a source. Which was when I came to the conclusion that Miller is haunting me. That’s it.

Original post by imnore

>

June 21st, 2008

Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews » Radio, Radio: A Follow Up of Sorts

I’m nearly done reading On the Radio: Music Radio in Britain and, taking into account that the book was published in 1989, this is my conclusion: Blandness creates blandness. The author often sights the British public’s complaint of radio being bland and not offering enough variety. Radio, including BBC and ILRs, then retort that the blandness found in radio is the fault of record labels. Record labels then say that they pick acts based on what is popular which is determined by music charts. The charts in turn were created by BBC and ILRs to determine what is popular so they “give the people what they want.” And so on and so forth. What little variety there was, and still is, in radio is sectioned off to after 7pm and even then you couldn’t possibly cover all the minority tastes that exist, at least not under the system described in On the Radio. Therefore, blandness creates blandness. While I can’t say the following with any authority, what with not having just read a history of American music radio, the same kind of problem exists in the US, except we only have a handful of non-commercial radio stations as compared to the UK were they’re major radio system is completely non-commercial. The interesting thing is that, for better or worse, when the BBC started their radio broadcasting branch, being bland was almost the point. The actual point, at least in the minds of the founders (and many of the higher-ups who still work there) was to teach the listening public about music. Such paternalistic goals still existed, though in a far less obvious format, during the writing of On the Radio and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they still existed today.

Original post by Anglo-Audiophile: The Reviews

>

« Previous PageNext Page »

css.php