Classic Album Review :: Bran Van 3000 — Glee

This is an example of one of those albums that I honestly can’t help myself but to recommend. I never feel like I sell it very well, and I feel incredibly upset that it has seems to have been forgotten.

Then again, it is a Canadian hip-hop/alternative album. Yes, there are examples of things thriving in that catagory, but for every success there are hundreds of flash-in-the-pan albums. Unfortunatly, this is a latter. It’s unfortunate, simply for the fact that there are so few albums that explore the corners of musical expression that this album ventures into.

As previously mentioned, this album could be placed comfortably into the hip-hop genre. That does not define it, however. Yes, they use samples and turntables for a large percent of the music, but where they explore other instruments is where they differ themselves. The single (placed below because it’s amazing) toys with an expression of someone who is strung out. The entire album feels like it was made by that group of stoners that you saw in high school. Harmless, brazen, and always saying or doing something interesting.

This is one example of why I have a hard time vocalizing why you need to listen to this album. On paper, it sounds like like drivel. Or, at least, mildly annoying. The fact is that this album has so many ideas. Everything from electonica to folk, dance to metal, and it works as a gateway into a world of unliited possibilities. This album is a gateway into everything this band has in the long term, and things only get better and weirder.

That’s right, I’m recommending an album to recommend another album!

Discossis is the next album they put out. It’s somehow more chaotic yet more intentional. I digress: listen to Glee. If you like it, pick up Discosis. Thank me later.

It’s probably bad form to include a song from a different album, but I need to share this. Second part, in particular.

Song Review :: Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Maps

I have this song in my head. It just loops over and over and I have never been happier to have such a beautiful melody stuck in the recesses of my mind than I am right now. So, instead of reviewing the gem of an album, I thought I would just focus on this song.

Why? This album is amazing all the way through, but this song stands out. Not because it is the best song, that is arguable. No, it stands alone as almost a lullaby on an almost-punk album. It’s peaceful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It stands as a kind of slap-in-the-face transition from the rest of the mix.

I have a slight tendency to prefer music from the early 2000’s. A large part of it is because I came to my auditory maturity in that time, a lot of it is because there was such a revolution in sounds not seen since the ’60s. Sure, it could be argued that most of it actually started in the ’90s, and I cannot argue that. Regardless of when the experimentation started, it got popular around the turn of the century, and we were all better for it.

Anyway, back to the song. It opens with a simple tremolo on one note, then thunderous drums kick in. After a swell, Karen O adds her voice to the ensemble as a type of whisper. The tones all mix together in an almost ethereal medley until the end of the first verse.

At just shy of 2 min. in, a Pixies like blast resonates from the guitar. This song is the perfect example of the quiet-loud-quiet formula invented by the Pixies back in the ’80s. The formula is simple, but the almost juvenile writing adds to how beautiful the song is. There is nothing to cloud the almost dream like state that this song creates.

Again, this song stands completely alone in it’s execution. The album is stuck somewhere between punk and almost dance pop. Songs like “Date With the Night” are incredibly violent (but still fun) compared to Maps.

Do I recommend this album? Whole heartedly.
Do I acknowledge that it came be disarming in how skattared the tone can be? Absolutely.
Is Maps a good example of the overall feel for the album? Fuck no. I will say that if you are intrigued, I recommend this album with every fiber of my being.

Sorry for the inevitable ads.

Classic Album Review :: The Breeders — Last Splash

There are two different ways to describe this album:
that fantastic first jam session you have with a new band that just seems to work perfectly.
OR
The embodiment of the pre-Nirvana ’90s.

For the first definition, this album always illicents that feeling for me. It’s just loose enough to give it that improvisational feel, but just tight enough to know that it isn’t the case. Everything is very simple in the best way possible.

The second description is a little more in depth, and shares being easier and harder to define.

When you find out that it’s Kim Deal from The Pixies, it all starts to make sense. They have the same sort of “quiet-loud-quiet” song structure that The Pixies made famous. The biggest difference is that The Pixies always felt like they were trying to revolutionize music and change the pop landscape. The Breeders feel like the accept the way music is going and is just trying to produce a perfect album.

I almost feel as if this band would have been absolutely huge if not for the existence of Nirvana. This album has little to do with that bordering on metal sound that came from the Nirvana camp. Again, when you know that it’s Kim Deal on guitar, the comparison is easy.

The Breeders focus a little more on the pop angle of the music, and that’s far from a bad thing in this case. Really bass focused, and non-intrusive drum patterns; the emphasis becomes more vocal-centric as opposed to Nirvana’s and their contemporaries “lyrics are important but listen to how cool this riff is” style of doing things.

I know I just went on a rant about how this band puts more emphasis on lyrics, but songs like Roi are very easy to get lost in. The effects on the strings and the dreamy definition of the vocals almost lull the listener into a trance.

I am reviewing this album because it’s the only one by this band that I know. The Breeders have eight studio albums, and this album (though I love it very much) doesn’t inspire me to check out the rest. It’s a perfect encapsle of the time, but I’m afraid to spoil the perfect image in my head of this band. Seriously, listen to this album. It should be easy to find at your local second-hand music store, if nowhere else. The band is touring again, at least as of 2018.