Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A-Z PROJECT: #344-358 (Addendum)

Somehow I forgot to post this update. After finishing all of the CDs in my collection, I went back and pulled out the stuff I had bought during the A-Z project but haven't listened to yet because I had already passed it's place in the alphabet. I also listened to all of the CDs I had in odd shaped box sets just to knock those out of the way, too. I did all of the writing as I was listening, but it's been sitting as a note on my iPod for a few months now. It just slipped my mind. I've since bought more stuff, but have been enjoying the freedom to listen to whatever I want in the order I decide. I still plan on going through my box of CDs packaged in poly bags, but I'm not up to the task yet. Someday...

Day #344
BATTLETORN - "Evil Chains" CD (I bought this used a couple of months ago for $1.00 in Iowa City. Everything about it made it look like it might be good. Black and white cover, label I've never heard of, terrible band photo, etc. I couldn't tell of it was HC or bad black metal. It ended up being thrashy punk with female vocals. No bass, just guitar, drums and those screechy vocals, but the recording is bad enough to be interesting, the songs are fast enough to be good and the CD is short enough to warrant multiple listens. It's a shame about those vocals, though. Well worth the buck I spent on it.)

BEACH BOYS - "The Smile Sessions" CD1 (I've had my eye on this thing since they released it, but didn't want to shell out the $140 they were asking for it. My wife knew I wanted it, so she bought it for my birthday. This first disc is mostly the reconstructed album, and I'm a little bummed to find I've already heard most of this stuff on other "Smile" bootlegs. "Smile" was never finished, I knew that already and wasn't expecting a finished product, but I was hoping for tracks that were more completed than the versions I had already heard. There was maybe 5 minutes of audio on here that was new to me. The stereo mixes at the end sound great, and the "vocal only" tracks brought goose bumps.)

BEACH BOYS - "The Smile Sessions" CD2 (This second disc is better already. We're treated to complete tracking sessions, multiple takes, false starts, etc, almost all of it from "Heroes and Villains". We learn that Mike Love isn't a particularly great singer and that they burned through TONS of tape recording this stuff. It's completely voyeuristic, like sitting in with them during the recordings. You really get a better sense of their personalities from listening to this stuff. I'm guessing this would be really fucking boring if you weren't already an obsessive fan, but I'm loving it.)

Day #345
BEACH BOYS - "The Smile Sessions" CD3 (Similar to the second disc, but instrument tracking instead. It sounds as if Brian is writing the songs in the studio as he goes along, like he was recording snippets he planned on editing together later on. Still fascinating, especially as at look at the directing process.)

BEACH BOYS - "The Smile Sessions" CD4 (This instrument tracking stuff is getting a little bit
boring. I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't have listened to these all in order. There's some weird psychedelic vocal experiments on here towards the end. No clue if they were intended to be part of the album or just something they did in their time off. It was interesting to hear that more of the "Smiley Smile" songs started out as "Smile" songs than I was aware of. The outtakes of those songs from this set sound better than what ended up on the finished album.)

BEACH BOYS - "The Smile Sessions" CD5 (A whole disc dedicated to "Good Vibrations". 80 minutes of the same song... It must have been excruciating being one of the session musicians on this album. It provided them with steady work for a while, but the amount of takes they did for each of these songs is staggering.)

CHEEZFACE - "Circumstantial Pestilence" CD (I can't remember exactly, but I think the guy from Comparative Anatomy is behind this. I guess this stuff is called breakcore, but I'm really not familiar enough with this kind of music to give an opinion on it. I'll just say that the CD was about 25 minutes long and it held my interest the whole time. Nice use of samples, too.)

COFFINS - "Mortuary in Darkness" CD (I caught on to Coffins late in their existence. I bought this used from someone on the Reeelapse board. Had I known it was released on Razorback, I probably wouldn't have bought it, but I gave my money to Paulo, not Razorback, so no harm done. This shit rules, heavy as fuck, slow and noisy, like old Celtic Frost played on the wrong speed. I'll continue to pick up their stuff cheaply when I find it.)

JOHN COLTRANE - "Interplay" CD1 (My dear aunt in Arkansas sent me a couple of Coltrane CDs years ago because she didn't like them. She loves jazz, but thought his stuff was too active, so I got them. I wasn't too into them, either, for the same reason, but I kept reading about how great he was and thought maybe I wasn't hearing the right stuff. I found this at a Borders while visiting my dear aunt in Arkansas marked down to $20 or so. I couldn't pass it up for that price. 5 CDs and a huge thick-ass booklet housed in a Tri-fold box set is hard to pass up for twenty bucks and there was bound to be something worthwhile on it. Straight away it was easier to listen to, more like music and less like someone trying to murder his saxophone. I've read complaints online that this material has already been collected on other sets, but its all new to me.)

Day #346
JOHN COLTRANE - "Interplay" CD2 (I'm not terribly schooled in jazz, so I'm drawing a blank as to what to say about this stuff. I probably won't say anything else unless something changes drastically on one of these discs. So far it's all been very enjoyable.)

JOHN COLTRANE - "Interplay" CD3

JOHN COLTRANE - "Interplay" CD4 (Those tendencies to play in quadruple time are showing up on this disc. So far it's not too bad, but it's noticeable. It's nowhere near as bad as it was on the CDs my aunt sent me.)

JOHN COLTRANE - "Interplay" CD5

DROGHEDA - "Thug Anarchitect" CD (I slept on Drogheda until recently. I had only heard a couple of things, didn't like them much, then never investigated further. After connecting with a couple of them on Facebook I asked them to appear on "Small Doses" and traded for this CD. It's a lot faster, heavier and angrier sounding than their older stuff I have. The production on here is just about perfect for this kind of music and there are some snarling vocals that sound legitimately angry. This is a good CD. The day I got it I listened to it 3 times in a row. That speaks volumes, trust me.)

Day #349
EAR BLEEDING DISORDER - "Its Causes and Cure" CDR* (This is something I put together a couple of months ago because I thought they were a great band and deserved to be heard by more people. It contains all of their studio tracks, the stuff on the "Attacked by Bees..." tape, two complete live sets I transferred from a VHS tape and a 4 track demo recording I got from a friend in Denver. The live tracks sound insanely brutal, like Fear of God. Download it for free elsewhere on this blog.)

EHI - "Heritage Gallery" CDR* (I related this story elsewhere, but I met Brian Noring at a show in Des Moines last year. He complimented me on my Sore Throat shirt and we started talking. We had written each other back in the 90s, but never met. It took us a few minutes to figure out we already sort of knew each other. That night we arranged a trade, this was one of the things he sent me. Concerning home-made electronic music/noise, you could do a lot worse than EHI. Brian straddles the fence between harsh noise and industrial. These sounds are soothing at all, but it's filled with rhythmic elements and dynamics that make this an enjoyable listen a the way through. I especially liked the spoken parts and the field recordings of what I can only assume is his family. It really gives this CD a personality and biographical sound.)

THE GO-GO'S - "Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's" CD1 (I've always liked the Go-Go's. Years ago I had a couple of their CDs, but have since shed them from my collection. I really wanted to hear this when it was released, but not enough to spend $30+ on it. I found this used in Iowa City last month and I'm listening to it today for the first time. The first CD covers their earliest "punk" recordings, mostly done live or at home in rehearsal. The audio sounds pretty good, but the songs aren't as interesting as their more pop sounding stuff. This CD gets better as it goes on, though. By track 8 we're full swing into fun-mode. I know I've said often I hate female vocals in rock and "heavy" music, but can you really call this rock music? It's pop to me, and I like female voices in pop music just fine.)

THE GO-GO'S - "Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's" CD2 (This CD is really good, consistently poppy and fun. The live stuff sounds great, too. I was worried I wouldn't like this when I bought it, but I can see myself listening to this with some regularity. I'd like to pick up their other albums now.)

HEAD CLEANER - "Resistance, Determination and the Sheer Will to Overcome" MCD (Even after all this time, I'm still not comfortable giving my opinions on people's music. I know that sounds ridiculous after commenting on 2059+ CDs, but it's true. I've never  listened to or even heard of these guys before they emailed me asking if I would review this CD on this site. I agreed, though, and because they sent me the CD through the mail and not just a download link, I owe it to them to share my thoughts about this release. The Facts: From consulting Metal Archives I've learned that they're from Greece, formed in 2002 and have released two full length CDs before this EP. My Opinions: The vocals mostly sound like Barney Greenway of Napalm Death, but often venture off into more "spoken" (for lack of a better description) style that I found sort of irritating. Comparing the music to Napalm Death, Rotten Sound or even later Nasum wouldn't be out of line. The riffing alternated between fast tremolo picking and more discordant parts with the occasional crust riff thrown in the mix. There were parts towards the end that had kind if a Godflesh feel. Everything is really right and fast, including the drums that pull everything together nicely. The production on this MCD is really clean, in fact, I'm having a difficult time telling if these drums were played live or programmed. Everything has loads of definition and is punchy, not something I look for in my grindcore. This isn't something I would buy, and I'm fairly certain I'll never listen to it again. It isn't bad, by any means, but it's miles away from what I'm looking for in grind. I'm all about the sound of things almost falling apart, speed and noise, everyone familiar with Mortville's output knows that. I suspect this would go over great with most people as it's played, recorded and written really well, but it's too "tough" for me. Simply a matter of taste, mind you. I'm passing this along to someone else who will appreciate it more than me.)


HEP*Z - "Dolphin Up" CD (I love these guys. They're one of my favorite Poopy bands. I started up Acceleratör without hearing Hep*Z, but we're plowing the same territory. These are cheesy rock anthems with sleazy vocals about drinking, sluts, etc. This third full-length is great, like all of their other recordings. "Eye of the Beaver" takes home the prize, though. It's a shame more people aren't aware of this stuff.)

Day #350
IKE & TINA TURNER - "The Ike and Tina Turner Story 1960-1975" CD1 (This was an impulse buy while I was visiting family in Arkansas last November. It was only $15.00 for the 3CD set, so I bought it. I don't think I was aware of just how aggressive Tina's vocals were until today. She screams like James Brown on most of these early recordings. What a powerful voice, I can't believe I haven't bothered checking out her music until now. This is similar to the other girl group stuff of the 60s, but way grittier and with a hard edge. This shit's awesome so far.)

IKE & TINA TURNER - "The Ike and Tina Turner Story 1960-1975" CD2 (I can't day for sure without having the booklet in front of me, but this second disc seems to be all cover songs. If it isn't all covers, it's mostly covers. The music is a lot funkier than on the first disc, vocals are stronger but with less of those James Brown screeches. The production is a lot better, too. Love that fuzz guitar.)

IKE & TINA TURNER - "The Ike and Tina Turner Story 1960-1975" CD3 (This third disc is all live, one 45 minute set. I seem to remember the box saying it was previously unreleased. Great sound, nice song selection, etc.)

NOOTHGRUSH - "Failing Early, Failing Often" CD (I just bought this a couple of weeks ago for 3 bucks. I've never really listened to much of their stuff before outside of their split with Corrupted. I'm sure I have more of their records, but I never listen to them. I really enjoyed this just now, though.)

PIXIES - "Surfer Rosa" CD (I like Pixies, but haven't owned anything of theirs since high school. I bought this used from a friend for two or three bucks recently, couldn't pass it up. The production on this album is insane, the songs are pretty catchy, too. Frank Black has a great screaming voice, not brutal, just intense. I still like "Doolittle" more, but this one is great.)

THE POLICE - "Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings" CD1 (My brother owned this set and I borrowed it years ago and really liked the first couple of discs. I meant to burn a copy of it, but I didn't. I found their first album at a Sam Goody that was going under for $1.50, but didn't but any of their other albums. I found this set used in Iowa City recently for $20. The cover was kind of scratched up, but the discs looked okay. Fuck it. This first disc has their early punk singles, first album, some live tracks, B sides and half of their second album.)

THE POLICE - "Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings" CD2 (I didn't always think this, but they seem to be one of those bands that got better as they went along. The second album is a little uneven, but the third is rock solid. My only complaint re: this set is that the albums are broke up on separate discs. Its not such a big deal if you're listening to it all in a row like I am, but I doubt most people who listen to this will be doing that.)

THE POLICE - "Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings" CD3 (The introduction of saxophone and synth on their 4th album is a bit of a bummer. It's still a great album, but a step down from their third album. The production is too clean for my tastes, too. At this point, I'm nit-picking.)

Day #351
THE POLICE - "Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings" CD4 (The last disc of the set. I actually liked this one more than the third, but was expecting to like it less. This was a solid purchase.)

SLADE - "Slade Alive Vol. 1 & 2" CD (I downloaded some Slade stuff last year after reading about them in an AC/DC biography. They were mentioned as one of their biggest influences. I loved the stuff I downloaded, but hadn't seen any of their stuff for purchase before I found this quadruple live album (holy fuck!) used in Iowa City. This first disc has both "Slade Alive!" (1972) and "Slade Alive, Vol. 2" (1978). The earlier album is the better of the two, naturally, but both are pretty good and filled with raw, stripped down boogie rock 'n' roll with some of the raspiest vocals ever laid down. There's a bunch of covers on the first album, but it's awesome. Two of these songs were covered by Quiet Riot.)

SLADE - "Slade Alive Vol. 3 & 4" CD (This one contains "Slade on Stage" (1982) and their "Alive at Reading '80" EP (1980). This kind of rock music is timeless. 10+ years later, these songs sound the same, just as energetic as before. Awesome.)

SLAVESTATE - "1992-1993" CDR* (This is something I put together from my vinyl rips. One of my favorite "powerviolence" bands. This shit absolutely kills, so fucking powerful. Too bad they didn't record more stuff. Find a download for this elsewhere on this blog.)

STRANGLERS - "The Raven" CD (I ordered this after listening to my other Stranglers CDs a few months back. I love their first 3 albums, but I was on the fence with this one, so I didn't buy the CD. I've heard it loads of times when I downloaded it years back, but I decided to give it another shot now and ordered the CD. I'm still not enjoying it near as much as the first three albums. In my opinion, they got better with each release up until this one. That aggression is missing on this CD, it's a lot more mellow sounding. I read somewhere that they considered this to be their best album. I like it okay, but only "Nuclear Device" has that same energy their early records had. I'll still play the shit put of this now that I own it, but only after the others.)

TWISTED SISTER - "Stay Hungry: 25th Anniversary Edition" CD1 (Yeah, I'm a big enough fan of these guys to buy this a third time. I bought it for the bonus disc, but I was curious to hear the remastered album, too. Turns out there were a lot of copies of this shipped with a defective first disc that actually sounds worse than the original Atlantic pressing. Because I didn't get to listen to this until today, I just now learned that my copy is fucked, too. I've emailed Rhino for a replacement, time will tell if they respond. Bummer...)

TWISTED SISTER - "Stay Hungry: 25th Anniversary Edition" CD2 (The bonus disc has 18 tracks including studio demos,  lots of unfinished songs that didn't make it on the album, a promo for a radio station and a new song, "30". The new song is great, it and the demo version of "Burn in Hell" are reason enough to check this out. Most of the unreleased tracks just sort of stop half way through the recording, like they put down an idea for the verse and chorus, then moved on. If you go into this expecting finished songs, you'll be let down, but even the half finished outtakes are great. There's a version of "Pay the Price" on here, too. It's one of the old "Club Daze" songs, like they considered re-recording it for "Stay Hungry". I wonder how many of these other songs are from those early days?)

Day #352
WARSORE - "Violent Swing Discography 1995-2001" CD1 (I had no idea there was a demo before "Open Wound" until a few months ago. This is my first time hearing it. The tape it was sourced from has a considerable amount of hiss, but it's pretty cool. Sounds like they had a different vocalist then. The rest of this is old hat to me, listened to it a thousand times. In fact, a lot of this release was sourced from my vinyl rips. Maybe I'm partial, but that NEE! split is still my favorite Warsore material. There's some live stuff on the end of this I don't think I've heard before.)

WARSORE - "Violent Swing Discography 1995-2001" CD2 (This second disc kind of sucks. One backwards 7" and a live set that sounds like it was recorded from the back of the room. Oh well...)

ZOMBIE HATE BRIGADE - "A Grueling Experience of Carnage..." MCD (These 11 minute death metal CDs are really easy to listen to. I'm not super into death metal, but I can dig it in small doses like this. ZHB are showing steady improvement ad as band, both in their playing and their recordings. I didn't like the longer Sabbath-like song, but the rest of this was great. Speaking of "Small Doses", their track from my compilation is on here as well.)

ZOMBIE HATE BRIGADE - "Shocking Tales of the Absurd and Unusual" MCD (Short and sweet, just like the above disc. There are covers of both Assück and Yeast Infection on this disc, plus a couple of live tracks thrown on the end.)

ZOMBIE HATE BRIGADE / PARASITE HILTON - "Toxoplasma Gondii" CD (ZHB's stuff on here was recorded live. The sound is pretty good, between song banter silly. Parasite Hilton's stuff was recorded at the same show. I'm not too into their half of this disc. They sound like a bunch of 20 somethings who got into grindcore 6 months ago. I could be way off, though.)

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD1 (After listening to the first set again I bought this second set on eBay for $58. It was missing the box that housed the set, but had all 9 discs and the booklet. Fuck it. Who gives a shit about the box? I bought it to keep, not to sell again.)

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD2 (I can't think of a fucking thing to say at this point. I've completely lost interest in writing about music. Sitting here trying to think about stuff to write is probably making me enjoy the music less. Maybe I'll be more into it tomorrow, but today I can't be fucked.)

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD3

Day #353
v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD4

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD5

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD6

Day #354
v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD7

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD8

v/a - "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles: 1968-1971" CD9 (I really enjoyed this second set. Overall I knew fewer songs than on the first, but they were all really good. The music was a lot funkier and the production was a lot more slick this time around. I would have liked to gave had more Issac Hayes, but maybe there's more of him on the third set? Anyway, this is a great collection of music and it was worth the purchase.)

Day #356
v/a - "Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From the British Empire and Beyond" CD1 (The first "Nuggets" set was amazing, so I bought this one, too. Paid full retail at Sal's Music Emporium. Whereas the first set focused entirely on the American scene, this one covers the rest of the globe, but mostly British bands. There are some great songs on this set, but it's not quite as good as the first volume. The British bands sound kinda wimpy in comparison, hippie shit, and I wasn't familiar with any of this stuff before I bought this. It's still wholly enjoyable on it's own, but I rarely reach for it when the first box is an option.)

v/a - "Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From the British Empire and Beyond" CD2 (The 1-2 punch of the Easybeats and Love Sculpture towards the end of this disc is killer. I'd like to hear more of both bands based on this, totally made the hairs on my arm stand on end.)

v/a - "Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From the British Empire and Beyond" CD3

v/a - "Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts From the British Empire and Beyond" CD4 (Yeah, this set doesn't touch the first set, but it's worth owning. There's just so many fruity bands on here to wade through including those that tried their hardest to sound like Pink Floyd. The great songs on here could probably be condensed down to a single disc, but they're worth wading through the others to hear.)

Day #357
v/a - "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968" CD1 (I had a weird way of being introduced to garage rock. I was trading with a Bulgarian tape label, AON, and ran out of things I wanted. I picked some stuff I really didn't have any interest in because I thought maybe it would be strange or interesting. One of them was the Jaguars/Corvi - split tape, two Italian garage rock bands from the 60s and the other was a collection tape of Mavi Isiklar, a Turkish garage rock band. The Jaguars/Corvi tape ended up being great. One of the bands (can't remember which now) did a cover of The Brogues' "I Ain't No Miracle Worker" and it blew me away. I didn't know it was a cover at the time, though, I just knew it was a great song no matter what language it was sang in. Shortly after this I made a 12 hour drive to Denver and decided to check out the AM radio for a while and heard "When I Grow Up to be a Man" from the Beach Boys and it got me interested enough to dig a little deeper.)

v/a - "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968" CD2 (I don't know how "Nuggets" came to my attention. Someone had to have recommended it to me, but I can't remember who. I can't even remember where I bought this set now, but it was probably either online or at our only local record store, Total Tunes. I devoured this set once I had it, though. It accompanied me on every road trip I made for at least a year. This second disc is probably the best of the set. There are so many STRONG songs on here, some recognizable from oldies radio, but just as many were new to me when I bought this that were just as good, even better. The clunker tracks are few and far between, short enough to overlook. Overall, this CD is terrific.)

v/a - "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968" CD3

v/a - "Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968" CD4 (This whole set was gold all the way through. This thing should be in everyone's collection.)

v/a - "Sun Records: The Ultimate Blues Collection" CD1 (I bought this after listening to my other Sun sets and complaining about the lack of blues on them. One of my friends linked me to it, so I bought it. So far, I'm enjoying it more than the other 2 sets that were mostly filled with rockabilly and country songs. There's a few songs that overlap, but only a few that I recognized. These songs sound great, nice clean transfers like they were taken from the masters. It's nice to have a bigger picture of the Sun Records story. I can see myself listening to this often.)

v/a - "Sun Records: The Ultimate Blues Collection" CD2

Day #358
v/a - "Sun Records: The Ultimate Blues Collection" CD3 (Here's where it ends. First CD of the day leaving my selection open for the rest of the day. This set was great. There really is a unique sound that came out of that studio. The backing tracks are clear, but somewhat distant sounding, and the vocals are recorded right up front with lush sound. The lyrics on these songs are great, they always concern "foolin' around" and drinking. How could you not like songs like that?)

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