Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Figures of Light Unleashes Proto Punk Creativity With The Power

Artists are often times held under 1 banner and that’s it. Figures of Light cannot be described with just one word, although they are one of the best examples of proto-punk. Even that genre is too small for them, because they bring together elements from across the musical world and create something that is truly unique. With the release of “The Power” they once again push the boundaries of labels and make something that is not only worth listening to, it’s imperative to do so.

I hear it all the time, “music all sounds the same”, “the radio sucks”, and the classic “there’s no good new music”, and I always tell people they aren’t listening. Here’s a prime example of something new, mixed with elements of things old, but not in the way that hip hop acts sample records. This is something outside of the world of carbon copied, and sampled elements, and can only be called art.

You get ambience, rock guitars, fast pacing, and blends of blistering musical integrity that people should be tuning into right now. It’s always a good thing to get something new, and there’s so many people that love ambience, trance, techno, rock, and so much more. That’s the heart of “The Power” blending what would otherwise be too much for the listener, into a very good mix of musical talent.

From the first track, “The Power (feat. DJ Chrisz)” you get a sense for what’s to come and it’s done quite well. Then comes out “Laid Back Blues” with solid guitar work, and “Times Up” with a surfer resonance on top of layered, echoing guitar strums and good drumming sounds. It all ties up with “Gimme Gimme Gimme (Super Ballistic Version)” and there you have it, one of the better releases in the classification of proto-punk.

Fans of Devo, Trent Reznor’s Quake Soundtracks, Tempest 2000, Trap Door, and even a bit of Joy Electric will definitely find this to be a record to pick up. It has a lot of layers, and doesn’t hold back. I like it, you’ll like it. So now, everyone can stop saying there’s no cool new music, because here we have yet another example of something refreshing, coming out of the music world and more people need to wake up to it.

You can check out more information on Figures of Light on their official website here, and order this record from amazon here.



Figures of Light with DJ Chrisz - The Power from Figures of Light Archive on Vimeo.
Figures of Light was an American music band founded in 1970, which disbanded in 2015. This channel features some of their videos as a permanent archive. Check out our website at http://www.figuresoflight.com

Vitne Showcases Metallic Prowess on Neon

There’s a ton of bands and artists trying to get back that 1980s glam metal sound, and most of them are awful. But as the old adage goes, cream rises to the top and this time around, Vitne comes charging ahead with one of the coolest records to come out in a while. This is not a glam rock record, it’s an artistic representation of the 1980s metal frenzy with an updated sound and exquisite guitar work that is definitely going to raise a lot of eyebrows. Vitne’s latest release “Neon” is one of the coolest rock records to come out and it’s bound to get more attention, if people just wake up.

At first glance, you’ll think that this is a revival act, but by the time you get past “Destroyer” the lead track, you are going to get pummeled with a rock sound that is all new. It’s not rehashed, it’s not a cover act, it’s 100% metal infused rock and roll, the likes that you would find from acts like Motley Crue, Van Halen, and even early Guns N Roses. No pretense here, just a lot of rock music, with incredible riffs, hard drumming, and vocals that are definitely up to snuff to a lot of the former lead singers in these aforementioned acts.

By the time you roll through “Nasty Habit”, “Silhouette”, and “Royal Nights”, you’ll think that you’re back on Sunset Boulevard hopping around the clubs and listening to the best of the best churn out rock’s most incredible years. The most impressive thing here is the guitar work, as you get a sense for Vitne’s forward motion, and “Neon” definitely has a lot to be celebrated. The vocals are strong as well, with influences felt through the punk rock era to the glam metal days, but not just holding on to one style. It’s too easy to stick to one formula or emulate what’s successful, which is not what Vitne does on this release. It’s impressive how close to the line they come at times, and yet pull away into something just astonishing.

The pure rock sound that is presented on “Neon” is definitely worth a listen, as it’s full of rock and roll glory. You want to catch up with Vitne by checking out their official website here. The guitar solos alone will have you amazed, this is one hell of a record, and I’m not just saying that. You can also pick up this record on amazon by clicking here. It’s one of the better rock records I’ve heard this year, and you may also agree.

Ian Marquis Channels The 1980s on Faces From The Static

It’s always refreshing to hear new music, especially alternative artists that work within a framework of creativity that is missing from a lot of modern records. Ian Marquis does just that on his release “Faces From The Static” and it really does take you back a more transformative time in music.

The album features a mix of different tones, with a focus on songwriting from the ground up. It has a very moody and interchanging presence, without taking you away from a creative standpoint. The opening track sets you up for a nice trip down to the 1980s alternative acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain, without the fuzz and noise of “Psychocandy”. “Hide and Seek” is a good opener that really sets up a lot more creative turns down the record including “Help Me Make It To The Night”, “Venus Aphasia” and much more.

With this album you get a taste of synthetic sounds, keyboards, guitar, guitar work, heavy drumming at times, and a lot of attention to the sound and design of the layers. This is very much an intricate work that you’d swear took a five piece to make, and hone into a release. It’s really something that you would expect to see while crate digging with your pal sir Jorge (me).

The sonic shift on track 6 is where I start to really think this record could be one of the biggest hidden gems of 2013. “Underground” encompasses INXS’s “Devil Inside” without being an emulation or a cover. It’s obviously a different song, and it’s not at all the same, but it has this embodying tonality that comes along with that single and guitar work that even U2 fans would enjoy.

There are 12 tracks total in “Faces From The Static” and it’s incredible to hear something with so many good songs. Every song could be its own single. This is very much an alternative classic, with a lot of different elements working together. The guitars, drums, bass, and vocals all melt together into a true 1980s sound but not without elements from the early 90s thrown in for good measure. Fans of U2, INXS, Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division, and many other icons from the college radio explosion of the late 1980s and early 1990s will find this to be a refreshing sound. Ian Marquis does one hell of a job creating a lavish sound, that doesn’t hold back, and is really something that should be heard by all fans of music. I was definitely surprised and impressed by the way this album flows, especially from an independent release. “Faces From The Static” is by far one of the better indie releases I’ve heard to come up with this sound, without being a carbon copy. It’s all new, it’s refreshing, and yet it has a feel of nostalgia that you won’t find with a lot of other acts right now.

You can listen to “Faces From The Static” here, or you can buy the record from Amazon here. I recommend it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tommy Homynym Brings Out A Crisp Record With Uglier Than You

Tommy Homonym is one of those singers that you completely miss because the music business moves so fast sometimes. However, much like Susan Boyle bloomed late and proved to be an incredible voice for music, Tommy has done something incredible. Tommy records music an attic in New Jersey with what some have stated to be an imaginary band, the Solitunes.

With the release of his first record, “Uglier Than You”, he showcases a voice of talent that you’re going to absolutely enjoy. At times he harkens back to an older time, with vocal styling that are very much a part of cinema’s long illustrious history. The record came out in October of this year, with 9 original songs, and a cover of “What’s There to Eat” by Christine Cochran.

The songs open up a multi-layered song structure with Tommy’s voice at the helm. It carries across so much interesting tones that you will be hard-pressed to not be taken away to another place, and time. Standout tracks include the opening track “What’s there To Eat?”, and follows through with the single “Irresistible”, and flows easily through a variety of emotional connections.

Don’t think this is a slow moving album that goes nowhere, it’s quite the contrary. There is enough compelling music here to really intrigue even the hardest of critics. At times he reminds me of Mexican talents that I grew up listening to, like Julio Iglesias, even if it’s hard for some to denote. There’s something to it, that intangible quality of musical prowess that is missing from a lot of singers today.

It’s hard to pick just one great standout track here, as it all comes together in such a good manner. Pacing, sound style, and overall quality of the music is just impressive, to say the least. Comparisons to David Bowie, Paul Anka, Julio Iglesias, Leonard Cohen, and even Paul Simon can be felt.

Check out the album on amazon, by clicking here. You can also learn more by going to his official website here.

The lead single and video can be seen below, and really does a good job of introducing Tommy Homonym’s interesting style.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Daily Spin Volume 6

Another day, another round up of records that I played through. I’m having a terrible month, and even though the holiday season should be full of joy and not about anything else, it’s really crappy. I’ve had to deal with a lot of financial troubles, to the point where everything is on hold. At the same time, I’m trying to hire writers to give me more time to work, and I’m trying to establish all sorts of new things to work on for next year. I want it to be the most productive year in terms of writing yet, and at the same time, I’m trying to register for my next set of classes for college. As long as I am enrolled, I can chip away at that coveted master’s degree. They can’t take it away once I get it, so it’s what I am aiming for right now.

The following records are a mixed bag, mostly from the 2000s, and do not represent everything I listened to. I took time to listen to a mix tape from an up and coming rapper, listened to the albums reviewed recently, ended the day on a fast note with some Pennywise, and am still trying to get through the work day with this post. If you want to get any of these records, do so by clicking the appropriate links, as every sale helps me keep this pirate ship afloat.

Weezer “Weezer” Deluxe Edition (2004) – Weezer’s blue record got a rerelease with 24 tracks and possibly a dvd, I don’t know. The band’s debut was awesome, and I recall them being a fuzzy, buzz driven band in Venice, California before they got famous. Now they are rock gods for the most part, but back then they were just a bunch of nerds with a weird name. This record holds a lot of special moments for me, and it’s not just because they coupled “Buddy Holly” with every Windows computer way back when. It’s because the album really has a good feel, guitar driven all the way, and just a great mix of songs. The extras are cool, but the core of this record is still one of the best debut records ever put together.

The Copyrights “Learn The Hard Way” (2008) – This band keeps coming through the Los Angeles area and I am always broke. In 2008, they put this album out and I was blown away. It starts fast with so much frenzy that you’re going to have a hard time not liking this one. It’s polished, pop, but it’s harder than Greenday’s sophomore record. It feels like a cousin of the Bay Area band and they have been relentlessly touring for the past few years. This feels like it’s a late 90s record coming from Epitaph, but nope, it’s newer, and it’s very good. An excellent choice if you want strong, pop punk, without the pretense or too much angst. It’s incredible.

Death Cab For Cutie “Plans” (2005) – Every morning in Seattle, I would listen to Death Cab For Cutie. I would drive around the city at 4:15 AM and just cruise, listening to the rain, looking at the lights, and just enjoying a coffee. The world was different back then, and I couldn’t snap out of the depression that consumes me. I wish I had a second chance to relive those years, I would’ve made them count. Instead, they are a dream, and this album reminds me of my mistakes. I hate my life sometimes, but this record reminds me of some positive moments.

Veronica “Hope For A Brighter Future” (2001) – I loved this band back in 2001, and when this was released I was one of their biggest fans. They played Cornerstone in 2002, and I was blown away by their live show. I went back to listen to this record, and you know what? It’s not that good any more. There’s something missing, and I’m not sure what it is. Militia Group was huge back then, even putting out the #1 bestselling independent record on interpunk.com, which is incredible. That was Rufio’s “Perhaps, I Suppose”, which is still grand today. I’m not sure what happened to that group, they seemed to put out quality releases. Then again, most labels are dead, including my own, Reject 37 Records.

The Huntingtons “Songs In The Key Of You” (2001) – The Huntingtons kept being pegged as a Christian band, and that may have stifled their influence a bit. They were a “Ramones” style punk rock group with a lot of interesting arrangements. They even put out several releases covering the mighty punk pioneers. This album was s departure for their style, but still holds some great tunes. I don’t know if I like it as much today as I did in 2001, but it’s still worth a listen. There’s even a song about “Back to the Future”, which is something grand.

Sell Out Records Video Corner: Alien by Pennywise

Sell Out Records Video Corner
Late every Saturday night, there was a program run on television, public access to be exact and it was called Punk O Rama. I asked several writers whether or not they have heard of this show, and no one really knew about it. If the roles would’ve been reversed, I would have done some research, but that’s me, not them. That’s not to say that they weren’t good, but I feel that I’m in a minority of minorities that seemed to stay up late and watch public access, because I was poor and had no friends. Now a days, I’m still poor and have no friends, but that is beside the point. Today on the Video Corner, we’re featuring a song that really slowed things down for the guys in Pennywise. It may be one of their biggest hits, still being played on Kroq and other stations. The song is called “Alien” and it’s part of their stellar release, “Straight Ahead”.

“Straight Ahead” represents my favorite record from Pennywise. They put out incredible music, but this album really drives the nail home about all topics that make me mad about society today. They cover corporate greed, American politics, personal life, feeling like no one loves you, and the stupidity that is controlling everyone right now. The starting point of “Greed” is a great point of interest, and the album continues to flow through everything. At times they even focus on a bit of religious fervor, which reminds me of my younger years.

All in all, “Alien” is very much a tale of modern life, and if you’ve ever felt left out, you know what the message truly is. I feel like this a lot, being a one eyed idiot in a world full of blind people. I can’t even land a friend to save my life, so screw it, turn up this record and enjoy. If you haven’t picked up this record yet, what are you waiting for? Click here, and buy it for less than your next latte.

Esoteric and Stu Bangas Machete Mode Blows Up A Powder Keg Full of Rhymes

machete mode download mp3

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cheap Music: Rival Schools Debut For Only A Penny

cheap music for cheap people
In our latest feature for you cheap ass music fan, like me, I found one heck of a release. It’s from 2001 and it’s one of my favorite rock records that should’ve gotten way more attention. It’s from the band Rival Schools, and it’s called “United By Fate”. Now, if you were a fan of Anime and video games as a whole, you will remember the short lived series, or at least the fighting game that was on the Sega Saturn.

Aside from the reference to obscure video games and anime, the band put out one cohesive album that is more so enjoyable as a whole than it is by just 1 or 2 singles. They call this genre post-hardcore, but I don’t know if I would claim that. The guitar work is far more intricate than just punk or hardcore, and there’s not a ton of yelling or anything like that. The band formed in New York and quickly became a part of the hardcore scene since the members were all from bands that I grew up with, throwing fists in the air. Bands like Gorilla Biscuits, CIV, and Youth of Today were founders of this band and it’s interesting to see how far they went in such a short span of time.

Apparently, MTV used to play the crap out of their singles and videos, but that’s ok. Rival Schools “United By Fate” was released by a major, but the sound is anything but that polished rock sound that came from the late 1990s. Now, if you want to pick up this record, I highly recommend it and if you’re a cheapskate, you can get it for just 1 cent (used)! You can buy this used for that cheap by clicking here. That’s right, idiots, get this one it’s well worth it. Want a sample? Below is their official video for “Shot After Shot":

Monday, December 23, 2013

Joseph Gallo Jr Mixes Indie Sound With Classical Arrangement on Time Wounds

time wounds
The first thing I noticed about “Time Wounds” by Joseph Gallo Jr. was the cover art that resembles “Out of the Fierce Parade” by The Velvet Teen. The sound is a mix of the talent that they presented in “Elysium” and what many other underground and mainstream artists aspire to. With that in mind, you will hear traditional arrangements, mixed with eclectic soundscapes that push acoustics to a whole new place.

It’s too easy to call this one genre, because it’s not really just one. At times you get controlled chaos, and at others, you get introspective piano melodies that are pointed to lyricism and thoughts that rival many other bands in the indie circuit. “Violent Colors” opens up things and is not what you may expect, I certainly didn’t. The piano stands out there, with some interesting introductions, like that of “Checkers vs Chess”, and pairs well with the additional instruments. You’ll hear violin, flute, and cello all map out with interesting components, and lead you through a variety of different places.

“Can You Hear the Waves” and “Weather or Not” are two of the major songs on this album that should get more airplay on college radio. It presents such a unique example of what independent music can truly become today. It’s not just jazzy, it’s not really easy listening, it’s fascinating what it truly is. It’s the same type of work that Polar Bears, and Logan Whitehurst was putting out. It strips down music and has only very specific parts, that pair well with a nice, stiff drink.

Joseph Gallo Jr. does quite well with “Time Wounds” as there is that certain intangible quality that you don’t always see today. It’s simple, but it’s the good kind of simple, much like some of the bands from Pandacide records put out in the early 2000s. It’s moody, but not to the point of desperation or severe depression, which is definitely a good thing. It’s worthwhile.

You can listen to Joseph Gallo Jr’s “Time Wounds” by clicking here.

MD Edwards Reaches New Heights With Empty Head Words

md edwardsM.D. Edwards is another singer songwriter that you may want to keep tabs on. As with the previous reviews that I’ve been featuring on the site as of late, this is another interesting and eclectic work. Taking notes from the previous batches of acoustic and folk writers, you’ll find that this release is definitely worth listening to. From the opening track of “Ex-Lover”, you get a feeling that you’re in for another reach towards emotional connection with the listener.

Often times with albums of this nature, you end up with some boring drivel, but that’s not the case here. The focus on the recording may be simple, with arrangements that keep things toned down, but it’s the relationship between words and tones that will compel you to listen and perhaps gain a semblance of the same feelings that the writer has.

On “Paper Bags (For Breathing In) the sound really starts to settle, and it becomes a labor of love and interest. He definitely does a good job of taking you through different points of life, even if there are some simple thoughts put to music. It’s often times the simple things that really start to become exceptional.

Much like Death Cab For Cutie’s “Plans” seemed to create a whole new audience, M.D. Edwards creates a lavish soundscape through “Empty Head Words”. Even with 10 tracks, you get a full offering of pop sensibilities, and folk ideas. With “Archaic Smile”, and “Not A Proud Sun But a Jealous Moon”, the record continues to bring forth a new wave of music, from a very honest source.

Once again, fans of Jade Tree and Deep Elm, will find that this record is quite fascinating. It’s a simple set, but one of deep emotion. Much like Burns Out Bright moved with “Distance and Darkness”, this moves in a whole new way. It’s definitely going to find a home with many indie fans.

You can take a listen and buy M.D. Edwards "Empty Head Words" here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Young Coconut Sprouts Wings on I Got A Vibe

i got a vibeSolo artists always have an uphill climb for attention, if they are trying to play alternative music. Pop artists seem to have an easier path, but sometimes the harder road creates better quality music and releases. That’s what is presented here by Young Coconut. With the release of “I Got A Vibe”, you hear an artist sprouting his musical wings and presenting an eclectic mix of sounds that range from fuzzy garage rock to acoustic ballads and thoughtful pieces that play on a lot of different themes.

From the first track, you immediately think of The Rocket Summer, but with a much older sound. Rewind time and you can hear tones right out of the British Invasion. Think early Rolling Stones as you move through the tracks. “Torch Bearer”, for instance, feels like a much older song than it is. It feels like a B-Side for a single that could’ve been easily published for Rock Radio in the 1970s. Mixing elements of rock, jazz, and even a little bit of a country twang, you get an interesting blend and mix of folk.

By the time you reach the midsection, “Lazy Liars” comes through with that same kind of impressive positioning that Beck used to have before he started getting all weird with scientology. The fuzzy vibe and sounds are very intriguing, albeit a bit unbalanced with so much going on. Fans of Violent Femmes and Calibretto 13 will definitely find that this is another branch on their listening tree. It’s an interesting and flowing recording that puts the listener at ease towards the end, even though “An Extra-Sensory Man” is not the end by any means. It really settles in for a cool and introspective layered soundtrack.

Young Coconut’s “I Got A Vibe” is a work of definitive talent, and one that can seem disjointed at times, but still plays on a very solid ground. The tracks all work together to showcase arrangements that are definitely rooted in the past, but are most definitely in the present. Fans of Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc’s “A Portable Model of…” and Make Believe, will swear that this came out on Jade Tree long ago, but nope. This is a work of truly interesting music. It’s definitely worth a listen, especially with that indie folk vibe. It feels very kinetic, and introspective all at once, which is a testament to Young Coconut’s song writing abilities. It’s hard not to like some of these tracks, and as a whole record, there’s a lot to admire here.

You can listen and purchase Young Coconut's "I Got A Vibe" by clicking here.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Daily Spin Volume 5

Another Saturday has come and gone. I’ve managed to stay sane today, even though everything points towards insanity. Ok, that’s a bit much, but this week has really kicked me in the balls. As a freelance writer, the holidays usually mean that no one is hiring writers. Perhaps the Hollywood crowd is getting work, but us lowly content managers, bloggers, and Cretans of the written word are not getting any sort of financial push. It sucks, because that means Christmas is not going to be coming early or even at all for the Sell out Records crew. My cats got a Christmas gift, so perhaps all is not lost. Then again, it’s not all about the presents right? I mean, that’s what we poor tell ourselves about it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that inside, we want presents just like anyone else.

Whatever the case is, this week has been hard on me mentally. I’ve tried to curtail it, but it’s just not that simple. Music helps though, and I have managed to maintain a certain level of musical influence for myself, and this blog. If you haven’t been reading, you’ve missed out on some really good posts, or really bad writing, I haven’t decided which one yet.

I’m on the lookout for another writer, or two, and have begun searching craigslist and other places to get someone to help with the heavy lifting on this site, but so far I have only a few candidates worth noting. A lot of people are asking for way too much money, and the right person is going to want to do this without pay, but I will pay them. We’ll see what happens. Today I listened to a few records aside from my playlist, and they are not at all what I thought I would listen to.

In Flames “A Sense of Purpose” (2008) – In Flames is one of those metal hybrids that works on every level for me. Their vocals are screamed, growled and sung, but anyone can understand them. They aren’t as dark as some of their contemporaries, but that’s ok. They play a smooth metal sound that I love, and definitely recommend. On this album, they seemed to have stepped up their production value and incorporated a lot more melodies. I like it, and love the cover art too.

As I Lay Dying “Frail Words Collapse” (2003) – This came out 1 year after I graduated high school, and I remember everyone jumping on their bandwagon. I liked the band when they were on Pluto Records and saw them a year before at Cornerstone Festival. I recall their set was ok, and the singer not really having much stage presence. I’m assuming they improved, because they signed with Metal Blade and have been a big time act for some time now. I recall seeing them at a 9/11 fundraiser in Moreno Valley, and waiting for Beauty to Ashes to play. That was a weird show.

Freya “As The Last Light Drains” (2003) – Earth Crisis broke up and 3 of their members formed this band. They are a mix of hardcore and melody that was a precursor to screamo. This in NO WAY is like that and is very heavy at times, despite the vocals coming back down to singing at times. Straightforward hardcore and punk with incredible precision, but not really Earth Crisis. I like half of this record more than the other, but it’s a piece of Victory Records history, so I can dig it still.

Roy Hargrove “Habana” (1997) – I hate smooth jazz. I hate contemporary jazz radio, and yet I love Roy Hargrove’s 1997 release here. It’s very much done in contemporary style but with Cuban influence. The percussion on this recording is amazing, and the trumpet is beautiful. This layered Cuban focused jazz release is really a stunner in my opinion. I didn’t expect to like a modern release, but Hargrove’s flowing trumpet style is definitely stimulating. I loved it, and am going to be listening to more from Roy Hargrove, whom I apparently missed out on for years.

That’s the daily spin for today, and if you like any of the records or want to simply check out music in general, click the appropriate links and help me maintain a certain semblance of hope that I can stay out of the 9 to 5 world.

Sell Out Records Video Corner: Less Than Jake My Money Is On The Long Shot

Sell Out Records Video Corner
Less Than Jake plays a brand of ska that has been part of my collection for a long time. Mixing punk and ska elements to create some of my favorite music ever is all part of their day job. My day job is not as cool, but that’s not here nor there. The band released a record on Fat Wreck Chords and I personally love their return to the independent scene after floating around the majors. Wait, that hasn’t been for a while hasn’t it? Whatever the case is, they have a new record and it’s been spinning around the house when no one is around, and apparently puts the cats to sleep as they are slumbering right now.

As you will find out from this video, Less Than Jake wanted to include all of their friends in the production of “My Money is On The Long Shot”. I posted a link to it online, and everyone ignored it. So I waited, and now they have released it on youtube, which means that I can feature it. The band sent a message to all their friends asking them to sing the song on camera. What we now get is an impressive array of artists singing the tune, much like Nickelback did in a previous video. However, Less Than Jake has cooler friends than I do…no offense all 3 of you, but we don’t exactly talk much, so say what’s up every now and again, I’m not hard to find.

See how many band members and people you recognize. I caught them all, so it’s like Pok√©mon for me. Man I suck at writing today. The video is here, and enjoy it. You can buy Less Than Jake’s latest album by clicking here, and helping me keep this afloat.

Lazu Lie Release A Plucky Independent Record

lazu lie blogspot
Not since I first heard The Velvet Teen have I admired the approach of an independent rock recording as much as I’ve enjoyed listening to the new Lazu Lie record. This interesting and introspective record has a lot of potency, and while I may say that it’s rock, it may be a detracting point. It’s so much more than just that, as it encompasses so many different layers. Influences from Matt & Kim, American Football, Jets To Brazil, and even a little Joan of Arc can all be felt here. Even if it’s not the intentional fingerprint of the band to draw those things out, it’s still not lost on my ears, and all that makes for great musical contemporaries, if I do say so myself. (which I do in fact say)

Lazu Lie presents a virtual kaleidoscope of musical integrity on this record, and something that I had a hard time pinpointing on just one genre. The opening sounds seem light as you go through, but start to pick up quite well in “Dubble Draggin” which brings you through highs and lows that feel in good company to many of the recordings from Jade Tree and even early offerings from Pedro The Lion.

One of the things that definitely compels me to enjoy this record even more, is the change of pace that is created with “Sign”. A free flowing verse starts this opus and continues through a relationship of vocabulary and subtle sound. A build up that you would expect from The Doors is found midway, and definitely harkens to a much different time in music. Things get weird throughout the disc, but it all comes together in an entire package that is hard to just pick one favorite song. With introductions becoming odd, and interesting components lining up, you end up feeling as though you’ve done something interesting as a listener, and that’s always an interesting place to be as a fan of music.

The whole thing wraps up with “Jackdaws Love My Big Sphinx of Quartz” and truly finds a home with emo contentment. Now don’t get that twisted, I do not mean to say that this a sad and self-pity tune that will cause fist clenches, eye rolls and sighs of desperation by constituents of this site, but rather a simple song done with appreciation.

All in all, Lazu Lie has done something worth noting here. This release via Fauxtown Records is really well done, simple, and yet complex at times. There’s enough gusto to push them onto a sea of enjoyment, and while I may have thought of a lot of bands while listening to them, it wholly is a sound that is truly their own. No joke, this is an interesting and elaborate work, even if you strip away some less than attractive tonalities and production missteps. Then again, where’s my hit record? Lazu Lie deserves listening to, I know they got me listening, this is a welcome surprise. Perhaps it will spawn a vinyl release, I feel as though it would be grand after a few listens.

You can listen to Lazu Lie via bandcamp here, it’s definitely a keeper.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cheap Music: The 62 Cent Sex Pistols Record

Every now and again I’ll run into cheap music that I absolutely have to tell people about. My goal with Sell Out Records is to talk about music on a regular basis, and recommend albums, songs, videos, and more to those that may want to pick up a record or two. Music has changed my life and will change yours. Today we begin a new segment called Cheap Music, or as the picture says. On this day I found the seminal release from The Sex Pistols, and for 62 cents (used). You can’t beat that, you just can’t. “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” by The Sex Pistols is the one record that all punk rockers have to listen to at least once. I even signed a band based on how closely they resembled the sound of these guys. The Sex Pistols may only have put out one album, but their legacy influences so much music it’s ridiculous. Mention the name Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious and people of any musical taste will know immediately what you're talking about. Even though Steve Jones, Paul Cook, and Glen Matlock are all members, they don't seem to get the same kind of notoriety that Sid and Johnny received.

On this inexpensive record, you can hear one hell of an album, and it will change your perspective on what
nevermind the bollockspunk was and is today. It’s poppy without being awful, it’s snotty without being trendy, and even though it’s decades old, still doesn’t get a lot of respect on rock radio. If you don’t have “Never Mind The Bollocks” in your collection, here is your shot at getting it for under a buck. Click here, and get yourself this classic on the cheap.If you like UK punk, or the genre in general, you'll find that this former #1 chart buster is still relevant today. From "Pretty Vacant" to "Anarchy in the UK",  you will find that this is still going to get spins in your record player. Even if you aren't a huge punk rock fan, you have to at least give credit where credit is due. The Sex Pistols are not just another fly by night act, they were snotty, rude, and gave people a new kind of antihero. Even though their story has been told many times, and The Ramones thought that they stole the idea of punk from them, there is no debating that thi is a mandatory record to own. If you have a buck, you have yourself a piece of rock and roll history.

Haim Days Are Gone Breaks Free of The Hipster Label To Change Minds

days are gone haim has the hottest chicks

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vinyl Records Amazon

amazon vinyl records
Recently, I have been navigating the web to look for music on wax. Instead of trying to hit up any given store on the web, I look through search platforms for the word vinyl records amazon. Some people may not like the fact that they are a giant retailer, but they have been able to help independent records stay afloat. If you have ever purchased anything from them and used the “other sellers” link, you have helped individuals like myself, live the dream of making money by selling music through the net.

Now, as for me and my hunt for certain key pieces to my collection. I have been able to procure some classics that I then flipped on Ebay or was able to listen to in the comfort of my home. Yes, I don’t always keep the records that I buy, but that’s only because I am not living in a mansion somewhere, I have a limited amount of space. With limits, I have to make sure that I don’t go overboard like I did in the past. At one point I had a wall of records, and physical music.

By searching for vinyl records amazon, I have been able to pick up some classic jazz recordings. From Thelonius Monk to Max Roach and my man Tito. Remember when he was the person to blame on the Simpsons when “who shot Mr. Burns”? Ok, he was never a serious candidate, but he’s definitely in the mix. Regardless, there are a lot of sub genres and indie releases that are being sold on the web, and it’s not overpriced. In fact, when you buy $35 or more from them, you get free shipping. Not only that, if you sign up for their prime services, you can get 2-day shipping for free!

Ok, so let’s say you don’t like buying physical music, that’s ok. You could always check out what is available on mp3 download, or better yet, look for releases that include a CD and a download code. For instance, if you were to purchase anything from Hellcat Records, one of my personal favorite labels, you will get both the vinyl record, and the download link, and a bonus CD! That’s how I came to own the Street Dogs releases on color vinyl. My favorite of course is “State of Grace”, and despite my love of the band, I missed them when they came around town. I wish I had a car.

If you’re going to shop online and get 12” LPs, make sure that you check out vinyl records amazon, and get yourself something new, old, used, or out of print. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, as I go there a lot to see what is on sale and re-released.

Black Flag What The Is The Most Punk Rock Record You Can Buy Right Now

black flag blogspot

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Daily Spin Volume 4

I’ve been trying to sell an Ipod for 2 weeks now. Previously, I tried to sell a Boost Mobile Android phone, and could not for the life of me sell that either. Apparently no one in the Pomona area needed an mp3 player or a smartphone. I ended up putting it up on Amazon and someone bought hit. Hopefully they enjoy the piece of digital media. It’s odd how craigslist just doesn’t seem to get a lot of views like it used to. In West L.A. I would get a million responses, but here in the San Gabriel Valley, it’s not happening. I don’t know, maybe it’s the season, or maybe less people use the internet for the purpose of purchasing these types of items today? In Koreatown, I didn’t have a problem either, but here I am trying to hock things for the rent, and well, it’s not coming along.

Writing has slowed down, but I keep hitting the pavement, trying to make a few bucks. That’s just an aside, the real story today is about The Daily Spin. In this edition of this column, I will be looking at some records that I listened to during my day and found to be delightful, or not delightful.

The Aquabats “The Fury of The Aquabats” (1997) – In the late 1990s ska had another boom. I like to think of it as a thing that the Christian punk movement started, but in reality, third wave ska was a culmination of a lot of good bands coming together to play great music. Guys like Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, The Pietasters, and more were touring the country and getting a lot of attention from radio and MTV alike. That’s where this release lands, right in the midst of it. You may note that Travis Barker is on the cover of this album, and his signature style was yet forming. The record features a lot of funny songs, and a lot of stories that are still the signature of the band today.

Welcome To Your Life “There Is No Turning Back” (2002) – This band was memorable for me because I saw them play in 2001. They played the showcase theater in Corona, California. It was a Halloween show with this band, Bleeding Through, and several others. I loved the outlandish behavior of all the bands, and if I’m not mistake members of Comeback Kid, Figure Four and 18 Visions were all there that night. It was a hardcore Halloween and I was trying to impress a chick. She didn’t take my advances, but I ended up finding this amazing band. Listening to their release changed my opinion, but I could hear a lot of potential on this early record from Indecision Records.

Architects “Daybreaker” (2012) – This UK band blew me away today. Their mix of metal riffing and hardcore vocals is bar none amazing. The message to their lyrics are also impressive with a mix of ideas and thoughts that really make you second guess a lot of lesser bands. This is well produced, loud, and flows more like a punk rock record than a pure hardcore opus. It’s metal, it’s hardcore, and it’s clearly one of the best releases from this band to date. If you find the vinyl, pick it up, it’s rare and really well worth the investment.

Nofx “They’ve Actually Gotten Worse Live” (2007) – The mighty Nofx put out a sequel to their live record by a similar name. This record is of the band doing what they do best, play obnoxious punk ethos. The banter between the band is definitely well worth a listen, and one of the better sides of Fat Wreck. The previous edition wasn’t as good, but then again, neither was the band. I’ve seen them play live and they are a fund act to catch, so check this out and experience the tour that is coming through this year and early next year. The band will also be playing “The Decline” from what I hear. Maybe they will record a new live record, we’ll see.

Today I didn’t listen to as many records as usual. I had my Spotify playlist on shuffle, as I started on a new book and doing other things. You can purchase these records with the links provided. It helps keep this pirate ship afloat.

Sell Out Records Video Corner: Brother Ali Uncle Sam Goddamn

Sell Out Records Video Corner
I wrote a quick review over at For The Fan Blog about Brother Ali’s 2007 record “The Undisputed Truth”. On that record came one hell of a track called “Uncle Sam Goddamn” and it’s an intrepid look at our country. I say our country, even though I am Mexican born because I became a citizen in 2001. This video is one of the coolest pieces of protest music and hip hop.

Brother Ali goes through a track of content that is so confident and relevant that I wanted to bring a spotlight to it. In this first segment of Sell Out Records’ Video Spotlight, which will get updated every other day or so, I present you with the 2007 single from Brother Ali. Check it out, and please buy the album by clicking here. Support the artists, this blog, and your love of music.



Have a suggestion, comment, or want me to feature your band? Drop me a line, visit the links, and join me on facebook. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Original Pressing of The Decline Not Worth 500 Bucks or Is It?

nofx the decline vinyl
Another antiquated poste from the past is here and that's because I am moving different things around from the backend. I wrote this a couple of years ago, I think. I may have still been living in Idaho and hating life. I then moved this to a number of blogs before finding a home here. It's an interesting record that I liked at the time. I don't know if it's nearly as good as I remember it, but I do recall the record only has 1 track. Anyways, here is the original posting, and well, enjoy it.

I was cruising ebay the other day and ran into an interesting auction. It was for Nofx’s 1999 pressing of “The Decline”. Now, the Decline is an interesting record all alone, but this particular vinyl record caught my eye. Let’s talk “The Decline” then talk about the record.

Nofx The Decline

Nofx released a one track album/ep called The Decline. This album was not one of my favorites when it came out. In fact, I was one of the people that soured on their style upon the release, only to eat my words later and now become a full fledged fan of the release. It was brought into the world during the Holiday season of 1999. It was released on Fat Mike’s label “Fat Wreck Chords” and was a homage of sorts to the punk legends Subhumans, even though many said they were trying to be more like “Rush”, a note that Mike himself would correct in an interview.

The 1 track ep was 18 minutes long and upon being released on cd was $12 and you got literally one song! That’s what made me mad at first, but later, I learned to enjoy it. The song moves through a lyrical satire of the American political system at the time, and it’s interesting to note that the song preceded their mega-hit of “Franco Unamerican”, a point in their career where I said that they sold out. Even if no one liked to hear me say that about Nofx.

The Decline Vinyl LP

Alright, so why is the record so special? Nofx released an LP version of this ep and they didn’t just include the full song, they put on a b-side called “Clams Have Feelings Too” which was originally from their release “Pump Up The Valuum”.

But does that make it worth $400+ right now?

No. But the original pressings came pressed on clear vinyl! That’s right, a clear vinyl version of this record was released and anyone that picked it up and didn’t play it, deserves to get the full $400 some odd dollars to purchase it.

You can purchase “The Decline” on cd, and re-released vinyl lp. However, if you can get your grubby hands on the original pressing, you’re going to be getting no less than $400, so check your archives because this is going to be well worth it. Or you can try your luck and check out ebay and occasionally amazon.com will have up rare stuff, it goes fast though. Oh and don’t get me started on the cassette tape version.

Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City Is The one Record I Wanted To Hate This Year

modern vampires in the city
The one record that knew I was going to hate when it was announced was the sophomore release from Vampire Weekend. I had no reason to like it, and I hated their debut record. The band came across as lame, and superfluous to me, but then they unleashed this bad boy. The first single had me second guessing my own musical tastes.

The band threw together one nifty record and it is less novelty and more musicianship. It feels like an older album, as there are moments that really capture the essence of melody. The drums, the guitar, the vocals all melt together into a true alternative gem. I think that they finally hit their stride, and whatever it was they were trying to do on the first record didn't really mesh well like this one. I tried to listen to their previous effort again, and it just didn't do it for me, so I wrote a review of this one, and posted it on my old site. That page crumbled because I couldn't pay the bills, and here it is getting new life into a blog that I hope will maintain composure.

The following is the original review for this record, taken from my previous site and given new life for you, the reader. Enjoy.

When I first heard Diane Young from the latest release of the band Vampire Weekend, I was quick to dismiss it. I was tired, it was late, and the SNL performance that they did wasn’t exactly catching on with me. It wasn’t until I listened to the whole record that I realized that the band had done something that few bands have done in their history, and that’s create a record that you have to listen to completely through. That’s right, you can’t expect to get through this latest one with just skipping around from track to track on shuffle with your iPod.

Vampire Weekend’s latest record, Modern Vampires of the City, is one of the best examples of how modern music can still maintain a sense of alternative flair without sacrificing creativity, and at times rock influence. This is the same kind of essence that made bands in the 90s successes overnight, and if there was a music video channel that still was worth watching, the band would be #1 with a bullet. I can see their latest opus sandwich between Blind Melon, Greenday, and others of the period that were getting called all sorts of genres, when in reality, they just wanted to play music.

Aside from the initial single and music video that is getting heavy rotation on vevo and other areas, Vampire Weekend really does come through with something worthwhile. From the slow opening track to the upbeat rhythm section and guitar work that is definitely nothing new, you’ll find that there is something to appreciate, even if you’re jaded and are selling out your ethos to become the next Don Draper or something like that.

Whether you’re on a boat with your dumb looking shoes, in college and trying to rip another load, or you’re like me, a 30 something writer struggling to create a novel that will get your student loans paid, you will appreciate the essence of this rock band in a way that few other releases will get you up to this day. I find that Modern Vampires of the City will definitely be worth more than one listen, and to this point, is my favorite record of 2013. You owe it to yourself to listen to the latest from Vampire Weekend, and see if you too are as fascinated by the structure and simplicity that is easily found in the record.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Brief But Important Lesson on The Skatalites AKA Kings of Ska Music

Before sell out records became a blog, I spent a lot of time writing about the history of music. One of the bands that has been a part of my collection since I first discovered alternative music was this mighty band, Skatalites. Every time they have come around, I have missed them, and I was even made fun of and called gay for liking the genre. Well, that's too bad for all those idiots that didn't like this brand of music, because they are the ones that are missing out. This is one of the best examples of the genre and the band has been around for what seems like forever. They do not play third wave, they play the traditional ska set from the 1960s and it's a jazz fusion in many ways.

I wrote this original condensed history a few years ago. However, I found that it fits in this website a lot better than it did on my other website, so I wanted to move it, and make sure it got a little bit more of the sell out records treatment. So here it is, a condensed history of the band that is definitely worth listening to at any given moment in your life! The Skatalites!

skatalites jamaica
One of the biggest names in ska music came from Jamaica. The Skatalites started playing in 1963 and played for a couple of years and recorded some classic material. They are one of the more prolific ska bands of the era. During their first years they recorded some great songs, and played on records by Jamaica’s biggest artists from the 60’s. The were quiet for quite some time, and then reformed in 1983 during the rise of second wave, two tone music, and have been performing together ever since.

Before The Skatalites Were Formed

The founders of this influential band were Trevor Simmons, Tommy McCook, Rolando Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, and Jackie Opel. Those ten key members started playing music together in 1955 and moved on to record on many records as hired studio men. The early history of these musicians involved a lot of studio recordings, in the developing Kingston, recording studios. Seven of the original ten members have passed away, but their musical legacy lives on forever.

The First Wave and Break Up of The Skatalites

The year was 1964 and The Skatalites finally sat down together and recorded their first LP, it as entitled “Ska Authentic” and it was recorded in the famed Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica. After the recording was released, the band toured all over Jamaica with the banner of being the creators of ska. Produced by some of the biggest names of the time, the band led sessions with some of the best young talents of the time including Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Lee Perry and others.

It was in the fall of the same year that one of the founding members gained major notoriety as his composition, “Man In The Street” gained major attention in the UK. One year later he would have 200 some odd tunes to his name, but that same year he was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, and was eventually placed in Bellevue Asylum. (not to be confused with Arkham Asylum) Drummond died on May 6, 1969 in the Asylum.
skatalites blogspot

In the summer of 1965 The Skatalites ended their run as the makers of ska, broke up and splintered into two variants, each one playing similar styles but not under the same name.

The two groups formed with the break up of the first edition of The Skatalites were Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors and Tommy McCook and the Supersonics. Despite Drummond’s exile, in 1967 his ska adaptation of the them for “The Guns of Navarone” hit the UK top 10, he would die incarcerated two years later.

The Comeback

In the summer of 1983 at the famed Reggae Sunsplash Festival in Montego Bay The Skatalites brought their creative ska form and played in front of a large and receptive crowd. During the rehearsal sessions of the band, the group wrote a slew of new songs, and were recorded in Music Mountain Studio. The recordings would not see the light of day until 2007. The record included a tribute to Don Drummond with Lord Tanamo on vocals entitled, “Big Trombone”.

1984 would usher in a new flock of ska fans around the world, as UK ska was getting really big, and the band would release their second comeback (reunion if you must) record entitled, “The Return of the Big Guns” on Mango Records. The band would continue to generate a great amount of buzz throughout the UK and even played to thousands at several festivals.

With a newfound success and enthusiasm, the members of the band moved their crew for around three years to the United States. They played throughout the Northeast United States and heralded a new batch of fans, all excited by the popularity of ska music that was hitting mainstream in around the world.

In 1989 the band supported Bunny Wailer’s Liberation Tour and continued to play music through the mid 90’s. The band toured extensively throughout the U.S for several years and took their brand of traditional Jamaican flavor to Europe in 1992.

In 1993 the band released “Skavoovee” and continued to generate a large buzz and following and that led to many opportunities to tour with bands like The Selecter, The Toasters, and get a Grammy Nomination for Best Reggae Album twice (1996, and 1997).

The late 90’s found the band releasing “Ball of Fire” on Island Records (a major record label) and many of the founding members began to fall ill, and pass away at various stages.

The Turn of the Millennium

The Skatalites recorded new music in March 1999, then more music was released in 2001, 2003, and released a live record that was performed live in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

mp3 downloadWith several line up changes, the band when through a flurry of tours throughout the world visiting the United States, Europe, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Japan for 9 months straight. They would tour throughout the world many times, record, and continue to play traditional ska throughout the 2000’s.

Never resting, The Skatalites went back to the studio and recorded a new world release record entitled “On The Right Track” and were even featured on a Fats Domino tribute cd. The cd raised funds for musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina.


Still alive, and garnering a lot of attention from fans around the world, the band continues to record, tour, and treat ska music with a level of respect and professionalism that no other wave of ska music that has come in and out of fashion has been able to duplicate.

The current members of the band include, Lloyd Knibb, Doreen Shaffer, Lester Sterling, Rohan Gordon, Kevin Batchelor, Cedric “IM” Brooks, Val Douglas, Trevor Simmons aka Big Red aka The Scarlet Goblin, Andrae Murchison, and Cameron Greenlee.

Notable discs, recommendations, and random tomfoolery after the fact.

At this point, if you’re still reading my history lesson in ska music, it should be noted that there are a TON of records from The Skatalites. For new fans, old fans, and those looking to fill the void in their life with some quality music, consider these records:

Guns of Navarone: The Best of the Skatalites

Foundation Ska (2 Disc Set)

The Skatalites In Orbit Volume 1 (Japanese Import) Live

Obviously, there are a ton of other records to consider, but the preceding will hold you over for a long time.

PHD Provides Christmas Spirit

Independent music is hit or miss a lot of the times. However, I have come across yet another incredible piece to consider. The band PHD from Northwest Georgia have put together an interesting sound. One that is not only vibrant, but eclectic all in the same breath. You’ll find that their latest release “Christmas in Dixie” is a fine example of musicianship. The group has managed to record the essence and spirit of Christmas into 5 tracks of bliss. There is a great deal of joy found here, and it shows with every strum of the guitar, and sound that you get moving through.

In traditional style, but with a twist, the band produces a collaborative effort that is definitely worth a listen. Stand out tracks include “Christmas in Dixie” and “Blue Christmas” but the whole thing is definitely worth a listen. It brings up the standard of Christmas music to another notch, without being too far gone. Many times when country, rock, or even pop acts do this type of music, they change the whole scope of it, and it no longer has that original flavor. These guys do it right, making sure that there are elements from the original but with their own spin on it, and it’s good.

You can check out more on PHD via their ReverbNation page here, and their Facebook page here. You may want to keep an eye on these guys, and check out their latest release. It’s a little slice of joy in this holiday season. I’m always glad to hear independent music done well, and this is definitely something worth noting.

Friday, December 13, 2013

500 Dollar Reason To Get The Humpers Live Forever or Die Trying on Vinyl

The Humpers Blogspot Live Forever
I’m always fascinated by people that overprice punk rock and hardcore records. I’m guilty of this too, because in 2011 I sold a lot of my Blink 182 original pressings for $150 - $500 each. However, they only pressed 1,500 of those suckers and I was one of the few people that were able to gain several copies of each one. Plus, I was going through some hard times in what I sometimes refer to as Hell, USA. Oh, that’s Moscow, Idaho.

Anyways, The Humpers may not be a band that you know or even like but it’s definitely a group of guys that play a brand of rock that you may love. I for one love their punk rock sounds, and they can definitely bring the noise fast. On the “Live Forever or Die Trying” they have one of the best songs ever put out. It’s called “Soul Surgeon” and for that one single I would drop $500 on the vinyl record.

It would be absolutely stupid to spend that kind of money on a record. I am not going to, and am not telling you to do so, but I found that it was funny that someone on the web is trying to profit so much. You could easily get this record for $9 on EBAY, of course it wouldn’t be new. However, the album would be the Japanese import which is definitely worthwhile. This is especially true if you factor in that the Japanese release of a lot of records come in a 180 gram standard weight.

Ok, so the power of “Soul Surgeon” is not worth the asking price that this one dude is asking for on Amazon, but it’s definitely food for thought if you have this lying around and you want to give it to your pal Sir Jorge. Haven’t heard the song? Then by all means enjoy this little ditty below:

SNFU Let’s Get It Right The First Time Live Canadian Punk Rock Showcase

Lets Get It Right The First Time
SNFU is one of those bands that you either know about or pretend that you’ve heard about. They are a Canadian punk outfit that has been working on music longer than most people have been born. Just like a lot of the early Epitaph bands, this is another creative project of punk rockers that didn’t know they were blazing a historical trail. The album sounds great for a live record and has all of the sounds you’d expect from punk rock delivered with an edge. “Let’s Get it Right The First Time” is not the tightly produced release that say, “Blink 182” put out in limited release, and that’s why this shines. It hits on the emphatic and chaotic relevance that comes with the medium.

On this one, you’re treated to a great deal of SNFU classics. Some of the songs you may know some you may be hearing for the first time. Some of my favorites include “Loser at Life, Loser at Death”, “Bobbitt”, and of course “Don’t Have the Cow”. The band is exactly what you would expect from an early Epitaph artist, brash, and loud, with a sense of urgency.

SNFU’s is very much like the child of Bad Religion and Devo. The vocalist has a way with words that even can be compared to the band Crux. Remember them? “Wasted Day” is still a classic to me, even though no one remembers them. Anyways, if you were a fan of punk rock in the 90s you already know who SNFU is and how awesome their recordings are. If you haven’t picked up anything from them, you will want to go back and get “FYULABA” as it is one of the best examples of punk rock in an era that started to overproduce the genre and throw money at pop-punkers. I don’t mind Greenday, but the polish on some of their records started to be far from the ethos that the original descenters had. I’ll digress, and recommend this live record if you can find it. It’s very good, and it’s one of the few live records that captures punk rock in its truest form, raw, live, melodic, and fast.

The Bravery Released A Near Perfect Debut In 2004

the bravery 2004 blogspot
Bands that come along and put out near perfect records are few and far between. The Bravery is one of those bands that upon coming out received a heap of praise and was definitely well dserved. The hard working band was not a fluke, they took a very interesting sound and placed it well within the reach of the ears that were buying up Julian Casablanca’s 1970s rocker shtick and made it a bit more poppy. For those that aren’t familiar with Julian’s work, he’s the singer of The Strokes. Regardless, The Bravery put out a near perfect record in 2004, and it was self titled.

The Band’s first single “An Honest Mistake” received an incredible amount of airplay on cable television music channels, and it was even a hit on the stupid radio station Kroq. That was back when they were at least playing rock music, instead of repeating Lorde’s tracks every 25 – 30 minutes. No offense to Lorde, as if she cares, but it’s not a rock record, she’s not a rock singer, but is played on L.A.’s alternative rock station? I’ll digress.

The Bravery’s Self-Titled debut was nearly perfect because it had some incredible songs. Aside from the lead single, you also were treated to “No Brakes”, “Tyrant”, “Unconditional” and one of my personal favorite songs, “The Ring Song”. The throwback to a 1980s vibe, really meshed well for me and I absolutely loved this album. I even bought the vinyl records that accompanied the release, and dug their sound at the time. Even though record reviewers kept comparing them to The Strokes, I found that their sound was a bit more infused with 80s flavor, thanks to the keyboards, and synthesizers that came across quite well on tracks, including “Out of Line”.

With many bands, this one got a lot of flak and sold through a lot of records. The drummer was even featured on Cribs, if I recall. Overall, this is nearly perfect, because there are 2 songs on the album that are just awful. They stick out like a sore thumb and just don’t seem to mesh well with the rest of the album. It’s for that reason that I can’t say this one is perfect, but it is so good, that it still remains in heavy rotation for me. If you haven’t picked up The Bravery’s self-titled debut, than go back and listen to it, and relive the 2004 sound that seemed to change rock and pop for a long time. Their sophomore release is also very good, and while they aren’t as big or popular now, they definitely came out of the gate with a highly enjoyable record. Oh and if you find “An Honest Mistake” on colored vinyl, pick it up and send it to your pal Sir Jorge (me), I sold it to a record store in Moscow, Idaho while getting money after a divorce. Yeah, tough times, but great music. Check this one out.

Spotlight on The Relevant

Lots of acts are up and coming, many of which you don’t get to hear because it’s usually independent or there’s no major corporation backing them. That’s where you find a lot of good music, for times such as these. One such independent band is The Relevant. Mixing elements of several types of music, but maintaining the ethos of an emotional rock, the band constructs an interesting approach to their sound. Still somewhat new, they have come across this editor’s desk with a passionate display of tracks that you may want to listen to, especially if you’re a fan of independent music.

Comparisons are easily drawn to a lot of previous work, including touches of Thursday, Student Rick, and even Taking Back Sunday, although a bit more mellow at times. They aren’t those acts, but they have similar wave lengths through some tracks. Stand out tracks you can listen to include, “Courting Chaos”, “Slideshow Charade” and “Hello, In Real Time”. Passion projects, and independent music will always become something more, as I would know with my nostalgic views on my former record label.

Anyways, check out The Relevant here on Facebook, and Reverbnation here. They have more music coming along, so if you’re looking for something new, give them a listen.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mack Wilds New York A Love Story Is Catchy As All Hell

mack wilds download blogspot
I’m not always reviewing hard albums on this site, and it’s starting to be evident with my selection of records to talk about. I can’t really post as much as I’d like, because if I had things my way, I would be updating this page 3 or 4 times a day, and then some. Instead I’m trying to get a review up and a few other posts here and there. The latest record that I can’t get out of my head comes from an unlikely source for me. It is from Mack Wilds’ release “New York: A Love Story” and it is one of the most catchy Rhythm and Blues record I’ve heard in a long time.

Mack Wilds appeared live on the Arsenio Hall show the other night and it caught my eye. The dude had swagger and a voice that was very much in tune with something that caught my ear, and mind. The lyrics are evident that there’s something more going on than just the words “Own It” and it’s definitely got the crowd moving. The live performance featured a live backing band, and when you hear it on the record, you hear the influences of hip hop and real music, not just sampling. Even though his voice flows like a butterfly, there’s still some heavy handed lyrical cuts that you have to pay attention to alongside this flowing spirit of love, sex, drugs, and a tribute to the city that is very much its own city apart, New York.

Other tracks on this record that will get you nodding your head and paying close attention to what’s going on starts with the beginning of the recording with “Wild Things” featuring Method Man. If that wasn’t enough, Raekwon makes an appearance to spit hot bars on “U Can Cry To Me”, and the rest is an example of hip hop’s influence on singing and pushing music into a new world.

Even though there are some explicit labels following this record, you will find that Mack Wilds has a sound that is all his own. This is not the heavy bass driven sounds of R. Kelly and it’s not something that is going to sound familiar to most, instead, it will be an example of what young people can do when focused on sounding radio friendly, but with a little bit of swagger here and there.

What a vapid review this is right? I’m not great at putting my thoughts to paper when it comes to these types of albums, which is why I’m always a bit hard-pressed to describe some of the sounds. You’ll find that this record is definitely worthwhile, it’s full of beats, rhymes, singing, and so much more. It’s like Drake’s little brother decided not to rap and instead focus only on signing. Mack Wilds “New York: A Love Story" is definitely a record I recommend, and you should definitely pick it up.

Switchfoot Who We Are Creates Iconic Sing Along Worship Music

switchfoot fading west ep
I’ve been sleeping later these days. My girlfriend has been coming home late and I have been staying up to write a lot of different things, including things on this page. Well, I was watching some late night program, one that I can’t remember the name of and Switchfoot was the special guest. I was in a dreamy haze and my head fell off my hands, where I usually cradle it to sleep at night. My face hit the floor and Switchfoot took the late night stage to play this latest single from their record “Fading West” which you can download here.

The song is reminiscent of new standards in the Christian world, with musicians growing up on Christian pop and alternative, creating sounds that sound very much like this single. Hands raised, hands clapping, lyrics that mean so much more than what you think they mean, and unbroken by the traditional fist raised in defiance. There’s freedom here, there’s a sonic sound that is captured, and could very well be one of the best songs that the band has written and performed in a long time.

The video captures that sort of playful spirit and it’s amazing. It’s compelling in so many ways, and makes me wish that I too was wide open like a child, with my eyes open and unflinching at the times that make me an adult. You may see it differently, you may think this song sucks, but it’s really something of a positive step for the band, and not since their third record have I found something grand about these guys. Check out the official music video of “Who We Are” below.

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