Friday, October 30, 2015

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy How Big Can You Get: The Music of Cab Calloway Review

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy first came into my radio in the late 1990s when the rest of the swing revival happened on rock radio. I immediately latched onto the swing sounds and the band really hooked me. I have been following the band’s career for some time, and one of my favorite records that they put out was definitely “How Big Can You Get”. This is a record that takes on a tribute. The band pulls through a best of Cab Calloway and his big band music. They do covers in the style of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy however. It’s really well done, excellent in recording, and worth your time on a lot of levels. You are going to get the classic tracks that the famed jazz and big band leader put out. Some of my favorites include “Calloway Boogie”, “Minnie The Moocher”, “The Jumpin’ Jive”, “The Ghost of Smokey Joe”, and of course the whole record. In 11 songs, the band puts on 44 minutes of swing music that you would swear was part of the 1950s and 1960s. It’s fresh, it’s hip, it’s Big Bad Voodoo Daddy doing Cab Calloway. You can’t go wrong when picking up this vital record. Whether you’re into ska, punk, swing, or jazz, there’s something vibrant about this record, and definitely something that you should have in your collection.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s “How Big Can You Get: The Music of Cab Calloway” is not to be missed. Pick it up here, and put on your dancing shoes buddy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nick Festari Comes Booming With This Is Me…Slower and Faster

I just got a new speaker for my laptop. Previously, I was listening to music with headphones, but didn’t like it. I got tired of it overall, so I bought a new set up. I mention this because Nick Festari’s latest record “This is me..Slower and Faster” was the first record I heard with it on. I turned things up and boom, the semi sonic sounds of rock, pop and great melody came through immediately. “You Wanna Make Me Fly (I Know You Belong To A Dream)” is absolutely a hit opener. This is the kind of opener that you get from major label record debut albums. I was immediately impressed with the structure and balance of the record, and quality of the recording. From the vocals, to the style of guitar and keyboard elements, you get a feeling for the talent that Nick Festari has. It’s such a powerful song, and it goes through every emotional element that you’d expect from a veteran of the music industry.

“This Is Me..Slower and Faster” is cultivated to showcase various genres, and within the first seconds of the first track, you get that. It feels new, refreshing, and powerful. I cannot express how impressed I truly was to hear this record, and that’s not just me paying lip service, it’s really a solid outing, with a lot of ups and downs, and good song writing. Nick Festari does so much here, producing a genre bending record that flows through electronic elements, piano, guitar, rock, indie, and punk.

Each track has a new flavor. Festari is in a league all his own. “The Song I Wrote For You” is a grand example of how incredible this song is. It’s so balanced, unique, and catchy as all hell. Festari finds a way to keep the motion going through every track, creating a well-balanced recording that is absolutely worth listening to. There are 6 tracks total on this record, and each one stands alone as its own song. Style wise there’s a lot to listen for, and it’s fascinating. The six songs here are unique, infused with electrical elements, punk rock styling, and pop sensibilities. I don’t know what else I can say about this record, color me impressed.

Check out Nick Festari's official website here for more information about the veteran musician, and pick up this incredible release. Oh, and check out the lead song from the record, which is one of my personal new favorites.

The W’s Fourth From The last Review

I went to school in Jesus Land. I went through 10 grades in Christian school. In that arena I was exposed to a lot of alternative Christian music. I hate the label because some of the artists were absolutely great no matter what their beliefs are. Consider Tooth and Nail Records and the early catalog of their hits. They are absolutely grand. Amidst the influx of alternative music from those years, I have to make mention of one band that didn’t get enough credit outside of the religious circles, and it’s The W’s. The band put out one of the best swing records ever crafted in 1998. I know, I’m reaching here for some, but the record is really well made despite the label that many people shun. “Fourth From The Last” has all the features of a great swing record, even if you don’t believe in the lyrical elements that come through sometimes.

Do you like swing music? Chances are that you aren’t paying a lot of attention to the lyrics anyways, and if you are, you’re not going to get hit with the religious tones some times. For instance, in “Open Minded” the song has a lot of horns, a lot of bass points, and vocals that you would expect from bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The band opens up the record as you would expect from the genre, and it is exactly like a lot of other openers that you will hear. Only there’s a bit of improvisational saxophone and trumpet coming through here. Around the 3 minute mark, you are taken back to the late 1960s with the way the music flows.

It’s in the hit single “The Devil is Bad” that you get that firm handshake from the religious sector, but if you allow the elements of the tracks to hit you, you will soon realize that The W’s were a lot more than just the sum of what Christian youth groups thought they were. They may not have garnered the amount of success that Five Iron Frenzy (sup Jeff), may have garnered, but they were able to hit hard within the confines of their short run. They put out two records before calling it a day, but I would say that “Fourth From The Last” is a stand out amidst all ska and third wave music. It hit right on time for the explosion of swing on modern rock radio, and yet it didn’t get the financial support that it should’ve received. Why? Well, they got hit with that religious backlash. Once you’re a “Christian” musician on any level, a lot of people scoff.

I would suggest that you listen to The W’s “Fourth From The Last” and rediscover some swing music. They really put on a great showcase with this record, and it’s an underrated gem in the genre. Swing is a great style of music, and if you’re into it, this should be firmly in your collection as a great example of the late 1990s ska and swing push, regardless of your belief system.

Hey You! You can pick up "Four From The Last" from the W's for a penny here. Get it today. 

The Melodians Super Best Review

One of the most famous songs from Sublime is actually not an original. It’s a song that they covered, and many others have covered from The Melodians. I once heard a rendition of this song played at a pastor’s conference in Prescott, Arizona. This rocksteady group comes from Jamaica (of course), and is one of the better sounding artists from the 1960s. The song of course is “Rivers of Babylon”. With “Super Best”, the record that came out in 2012, you get a collection of tracks from the group. The disc is 25 tracks of rocksteady, and reggae, but with a subtle religious touch to it. Whether that’s by design or it’s just the signature style of The Melodians, I don’t really know. However, throughout the 25 tracks, you get a true sense for the reggae and ska artist’s passion for the music. There are elements of love, peace, harmony, and even religious ideas sewn throughout the songs. This is the type of ska record that you are going to be able to share with family, friends, and not get laughed at. I need to stress that this is NOT Bob Marley, so if you expect his vocals, you won’t get it. But you will definitely get a good glimpse into another fine 1960s ska, reggae, rocksteady band.  The Melodians “Super Best” can be picked up for cheap by going

The Melodians “Super Best” can be picked up for cheap by going here.

They Call It The Quiet City...

I write a lot. People don't understand how much I write. I write so much that I start blogs and just run them into the ground with the amount of text that I throw at them. Some of them get popular, others die slow deaths.

I was listening to a song by Thursday, and it begins with the title of this post. So I decided to name a blog, and start writing reviews about the music that I want. I already have a review site called Sell Out Records (http://selloutrecords.blogspot.com), but that's for long form reviews. I also post random thoughts on Sold Out Records via Tumblr. However, I wanted an outlet where I wasn't confined to long forms, so here is this idea.

In this blog, you will see reviews of music from all over the map. I will write about things in a very concise, and simple manner. No long form reviews will be posted on here, unless I want to rant. The reviews will be 250 words each and edited by James Himsa. The editing and writing will be to give you a break down of some of the tracks, some history, and then post links to where you can purchase the records yourself. If you like what you read, by all means pick up the records, share this with others, and tell a friend.

Until next time, I'm Jorge Orduna aka Sir Jorge aka The Mexican aka The SEO Idiot.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Electrets Misfit Video

So, The Electrets woke me up from a daze on Twitter with the release of their new music video!

If you don't remember The Electrets, then you aren't reading my blog, idiots!

I reviewed their stuff HERE. Check out the video below, go follow them on Twitter, and wake up to one of my favorite up and coming bands since I first discovered The Donnas and desperately tried to marry a member. I was a weirdo, I'm sure.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Murs Have A Nice Life Brings New Meaning To Hip Hop For Me

I discovered Murs thanks to John Cena. John Cena and DEF JUX were something new I discovered a while back. Murs did a video for his track “HUSTLE” and it featured Cena in the video. It was from that point forward that I wanted to listen to everything that MURS ever put out. I did and have been blessed by some of the lyrics that he’s pushed out. Through the affiliate with DEF JUX that MURS and others had, I was able to discover all sorts of hip hop heavyweights. The creation of lyrical elements has always fascinated me, and though I’m not a rapper, I would like to think of myself as a fan of poetry. I mean, I am in a master’s program for Humanities. With the release of “Have a Nice Life”, the rapper from Los Angeles has created a kaleidoscope of music released through Strange Music.

From the starting line of “Have a Nice Life”, you get into a car with the famed rapper. He presents a slice of life that is somewhat autobiographical, but so much more. It’s a fascinating trip through the last few years, and then some. By the time you get to “Surprises” Murs puts on the thinking cap and illustrates some amazing tactical lyrical elements. In fact, it’s with track 2 on the disc that you start to look around your neighborhood, your memories, and realize that your story is not a lonely one. There’s so much to relate to here, especially with the heart break, and the juxtaposition of what very well may be the story of all of us.

As the record moves forward, you’re going to find that this disc features a lot of great moments. The beats are alive, the instrumentals are key, and the way Murs moves through guest singers and more, you end up with a huge record that deserves some major attention. Stand out tracks for me include “Have a Nice Life”, “Surprises”, “Okey Dog”, “The Worst”, “I Miss Mikey”, and more.

There’s a lot to discover with “Have a Nice Life”. There are moments where you know what Murs is doing, calling on his classic lyrical style, and then there are surprises where he jumps through the headphones to deliver something altogether new. For instance, “Mi Corazon” illustrates a fascinating element of autobiographical data that you may relate to, especially when speaking Spanish.

For me, Murs represents the type of rapper that I wish I could portray in writing. Meaning, the “Hustler”. No, not drugs, but words. I get paid per word, and sometimes I get paid less than 1 cent per word. However, I will write a million words if it means that I can make some money instead of going through the 9 to 5 world. I love how MURS finds ways to create illustrative, creative music, without that “gang” life that permeates a lot of the modern rappers lyrical attempts.

If you haven’t yet picked up “Have a Nice Life” by MURS, then go for it. Get the vinyl, and get ready for something a little different than the mainstream rap game.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Bouncing Souls How I Spent My Summer Vacation Found New Life For Me In 2011

I had just arrived in Los Angeles in 2011. I was previously in Moscow, Idaho and going through a divorce. It was a new adventure to start over again, and pay my proverbial dues into a new life. I enjoyed myself a bit, and found that the dating world was full of ups and downs. However, I managed to meet someone that was very cool, and while we were never official, I can’t seem to forget. It was within the confines of our friendship that I would rediscover a passion for music, some lost records, and a new lease on the creative spark that drives writers. That’s where I highlight picking up this record from Bouncing Souls yet again, and it remains one of my favorites. “How I Spent My Sumer Vacation” came out in 2001, and it has 13 tracks of melodic punk rock glory.

Her name was Natalie. I’m sure she’s out there, living it up, and she is perhaps one of the coolest people I’ve ever met in my life. She was just real. I don’t know how else to say it, she was just real. I guess I had an opportunity to stick around in her life, but I walked away and she went her way, and that’s that. But before we left each other for another life, we took a simple drive up to San Lois Obispo. It was in a small main street drag that we popped into a record store. I don’t recall the name of it, but I do remember picking up this record for $5. It was used, but it was still in new condition, and I immediately remembered why I loved the Bouncing Souls.

This record has some of the catchiest songs from the band’s catalog. The first 5 songs in a row are anthems that will have you raising your fist and living a whole new life. “That Song”, “Private Radio”, “True Believers”, “Better Life”, and “The Something Special” are anthemic, melodic, and pure in their reach of punk rock and pop culture resonance. The rest of the tracks are good too, and they all lead up to perhaps one of the most appealing and poignant songs for me and anyone else that has ever had to walk away from a friend, or a situation and lives with some sort of remorse. “Gone” is one of those songs that sticks with you.

Even now, here in Indianapolis, I think about Natalie and what she must be doing. I tried to reconnect via Facebook a while ago, but she seemed short in replying, and we didn’t get much in the way of conversation. I’m sure it’s for the best. However, it was her driving me to SLO that reminded me that the Bouncing Souls put out one hell of a record in 2001, and that I needed to pick it up again. Even today, this record sounds as powerful and fresh as it was when I first heard it in 2001. Overall, it’s one of the best that they put out, melodic, speedy, and refreshing overall.

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation” by The Bouncing Souls will have you singing along fast, so why not pick it up HERE, treat yourself to some fine tunes.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jimmy Eat World Clarity Brought Me Heartbreak Fast

I didn’t hear “Clarity” from Jimmy Eat World until I was a senior in high school. I was late on this record because I didn’t really explore passed “Bleed American”, which was getting a lot of radio and MTV play at the time. I recall Carson Daly saying that these guys were one of the hardest working bands in the United States. They were in fact opening acts for a ton of tours, and they were coming into their own with the release of the poorly titled “Bleed American”, which saw a few title changes, and even censorship thanks to 2001’s events.

“Clarity” is one of the best independent rock records every put together. However, it fits into the “emo” and “indie” mold all the same. It’s like Death Cab For Cutie’s brother, or cousin. The band flows through long winded songs, creating over an hour of music with just 15 songs on the expanded edition. These are not short songs at all, and they play through a lot of instrumentation, and sometimes, it seems a bit long. That’s the key to the indie and emo settings that were big on Jade Tree, and the likes.

The record flows through a lot of emotional connections. However, if you have ever heard the track, “Lucky Denver Mint”, you know the band can put together some pop glory. In fact, it was that song that got me thinking about “Clarity” and my first big heart break. My friends introduced me to a young lady named Codie, and I was in love, stricken hard. Of course, as with all teenage romances, it wasn’t much of a romance as it was one sided stupidity on my behalf. She loved this song, so much so that she had the Fueled By Ramen release single of this track. I recall laying on her carpet and watching the ceiling form clouds as we listened to this record.

She’s long gone. I got over it. But I was left with this amazing record to go back to and think about. As far as the tracks and music here, you’re going to find a lot of emotion. Some of it is raw, unpolished, and the songs can seem to wander a bit. However, you’ll find that there are stand outs including, “Your New Aesthetic”, “Believe in What You Want”, “Crush”, “12.23.95”, and “Ten.”. This is a meal of a record. It is meant to be listened to completely, not dissected for the single that is truly one of the catchiest of all time from the band.

As far as recordings from the late 1990s are concerned, “Clarity” didn’t get a fair shake in my view. It was overtaken by other independent stand outs, including Saves The Day, The Get Up Kids, and even Hot Rod Circuit. However, it is a strong record with one hell of a drum outro that leads into “Your New Aesthetic”. Overall, Jimmy Eat World really put a lot into this record and if you go back to listen to it, you’ll see that they were on the cusp of something grand, which would become their break out major label release a few years later. When released, however, it was ignored mostly. Except by Codie. I’m sure she’s out there married, enjoying life, living that dream I wish I could’ve had with her. We still have “Clarity”, though.

Stop reading me wax poetic, and go pick up “Clarity” by Jimmy Eat World HERE, you know you want to.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

The So So Glos - Full Performance (Live on KEXP) Video

The So So Glos performed live for KEXP and here's the video of it, listen up idiots.



Look, if you have a few bucks, why not pick up The So So Glos record HERE?

The So So Glos Blowout Turns Up The Punk Rock Discount Bin Without Worry

The So So Glos come at you fast. They are the type of band that has so many records, they get thrown into the punk rock discount bin. That’s not bad. I found some incredible 7” vinyl in these clearance bins. Funny thing, that’s where I first discovered Blink 182’s “Cheshire Cat”. With the 2014 release of “Blowout” This band of misfits, assuming they aren’t PHD students, put down 11 tracks of punk rock iconography that is going to get your feet tapping. If the band is pursuing a PHD, maybe they aren't misfits. Or maybe they are, what do I know? I'm just a dude trying to review a record.

All kidding aside, “Blowout” is a garage punk recording that features a lot of that DIY spirit. You can hear it from the fuzz and noise that comes through the recording. It is not polished and it’s not a million dollar recording, but it doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be. The band goes through the songs in such a manner that you get the full passion of what they are doing. From the heavy bass to the three chord standard design, to the vocals that aren’t quite sung, aren’t quite screamed, you get a sincere attempt to recreate the same nuance that The Ramones did decades ago.

While this isn’t like The Ramones in stature, it’s a good balance between old school punk rock and pop punk that proliferates a lot of 90s radio. Anyone listening to the record can definitely see that the guys here are putting out some quality tunes. With songs like “Son of An American”, “Diss Town”, “Wrecking Ball”, “Lost Weekend”, and “All of the Time”, this is a great calculated record. It has a lot to offer and it is not rushed. It takes time to go through the songs.

The So So Glos is a band you need to listen to, if you like punk. It’s raw, it’s fast at times, it’s slower at others, but it’s sincere in pushing that punk rock ethos that you know and love. Or rather, I know and love. This is a great record.



Do yourself a favor and pick up “Blowout” here, or anywhere for that matter.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Alice In Chains Haunted Listeners With Their MTV Unplugged Album

Millions of people still think of Nirvana’s unplugged album as one of the best MTV ever produced. MTV was a great channel once. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I did so anyways. It showcased a lot of music, and it helped me branch away from purely rock radio into new dimensions. I remember that in 1996 I wanted to pick up several records, and one of the major ones that I purchased was Alice in Chains “Unplugged”. This was recorded for MTV as they had a series in which they put rock groups in a small venue, put some candles on, and the band would play through their hits and some B-sides as well.

What made this so special was that the band had been absent from the limelight for a while. In fact, they didn’t play a concert for 2 and a half years before this. Layne Staley would die soon after the band recorded this, but the band definitely put on a showcase here. I recall at the time, a lot of music critics didn’t like this record. In fact, my stepfather, friends that listened to rock radio, and even some pundits in the newspaper didn’t like this version of Alice In Chains. They wanted more grunge, and louder production. I loved it. I liked the tunes and feel that the album had a certain quality that is only found with great acoustic sets.

Now, having seen the performance, I know for a fact that the CD isn’t the same. Watching the band work is so much cooler, but if you close your eyes, you can kind of make out the band playing this in front of a live studio audience. There are some great moments on the record, and I feel makes up for what some say is a “lack of energy”. Some of the best songs on this record include, “Nutshell”, “Sludge Factory”, “Rooster”, “Got Me Wrong”, “Heaven Beside You”, and “Over Now”. This is a record that deserves a full listen. I don’t like reviewing records that just have singles on them, which is why I love this one. It has a lot of life in it, even though it’s mostly old material that was already released. That’s the nature of MTV Unplugged anyways.

If you have yet to listen or pick up Alice in Chains “Unplugged”, you’re missing out on something grand. It’s still as good as it was back in 1996 when it was first released. There are some great musical moments on this record, and if you sit back and just listen, you’ll hear an emotional band dealing with a lot.

Pick up Alice in Chains “MTV Unplugged” HERE including the DVD.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Vero Shows The Ace Under His Sleeve With Passed Grass Education

Vero snuck up on me. “Passed Grass Education” starts simple enough, with a smooth flow, and good beats. But while you’re slowly melting into the nuance that Vero brings through, you get taken into the real crux of this record, and something happens. A sonic boom of cool starts to drop through focused beats. There’s relaxation here, don't get me wrong, but there's a control element that only the best MC's in the game have, and that's what you get here. Controlled lyrical elements over smooth beats. Vero has a flow that is laid back, he’s not attacking you, he’s talking through the clouds of smoke and peace he’s bringing. You’re going to be bobbing your head, as the beats come through simply.This is the type of record you want to cruise through a skatepark with, no crazy tricks, just cruising along, hitting some hips, dropping in and mellowing out.

“Just Trust” is just the beginning, as you flow through the rest of the tracks, you start to get a slow moving painting shown in front of your eyes. Close your eyes and you will be taken to another place. Vero finds a way to touch your mind, and bring an honest flow. The lyrics are personal, but they aren’t all bombastic, or self serving. It’s with “Have I Gone Mad” that you start to walk with the MC through the past, present, and I dare you not to reminisce on your own life.

Vero’s progression on “Passed Grass Education” is stellar. The MC doesn’t struggle at any point, he flows in a calmed status. He’s chill, poetic, but introspective all the same. On tracks like, “Oh My”, “Forever Dope”, “1994”, “Smoothies”, “Gaza Strip Poetry”, and “Sax On The Beach”, you get the whole of what Vero’s bringing forth.

Overall, Vero’s musical talents are spread across several layers of hip hop beats, smooth flows, and lyrical attachments to life, clouds, and more. There’s not a wasted lyrical point here, especially when Vero goes into personal realizations and suggestions about life in general. You’re going to find yourself either thinking about your own life, or you’re going to be transported into a canal ride through Venice, because Vero’s got a chill vibe here.

“Passed Grass Education” is a good hip hop record. It features mixed beats that never seem to be phoned in, and a focus on story telling that is never aggressive. Vero’s not trying to strangle you, he’s trying to calmly tell you a story of life, ideas, peace, and well, smoke. It’s a good record, and deserving of your ear.This album was recorded recorded by Joe Dell'Aquila at Exeter Recordings, and the production values are quite high.
Check out this record Via DatPiff HERE. You owe it to yourself, check it out.

The Dingees Crucial Conspiracy Closed The Book on Some Serious SKA Punk Fusion in 2001

The Dingees have been one of those bands that people love to hate. That’s at least what I got from people whenever I said I was a fan. I saw them play a lot. I saw them play at the mega show that was Skamania with The Supertones and Slick Shoes. I saw them play with Stavesacre and Project 86, and I booked them to play a show at a church in Orange County with Makeshift3, Beauty to Ashes, and The Discarded. I recall begrudgingly paying Pegleg (the singer) their fee, even though not a lot of people came to the show. But hey, we broke even, and I got a free shirt for my troubles. He was down. “The Crucial Conspiracy” had come out and it seemed like no one cared about the once promising band on the Tooth and Nail roster.

“The Crucial Conspiracy” seems like a concept record, as the artwork is amazing. The art done for the record is definitely something to see, as the band’s record is placed into an Orwellian perspective. I love how the art and design flows through a very concrete and visual representation of what the album’s main themes are.

As for the songs, the record is a jumble of what The Dingees do best, only with one addition, far better song structure. The band matured on this record, so much so that you really get pulled into the lyrical elements. There is a Christian theme here and there, but it’s not “JESUS ONLY”, it’s a matter of freedom, peace, and hope that can translate across belief systems.

The power of the record is found with the slower tracks, including “Dear Sister, Dear Brother”, “We Rot The VooDoo”, “Latch Key Kids”, “The World’s Last Night”, and “Declaration (The Crucial Conspiracy”. These tracks are by far the best tracks ever put out by The Dingees. They found a way to make you think, listen to the lyrics, and blend a sense of reggae fusion that you missed out on. That’s not to say that their faster songs are not good. “Christina Fight Back”, “General Information”, “Spray Paint (We Won’t Carry Over), and “Summer” are impressive in their flow.

The sum of the parts of this record from The Dingees is a great way to close out the record deal that the band had with Tooth and Nail. I just wished more people heard it, and supported the band’s shows. They still play from time to time, and they released an independent record. However, The Dingees haven’t been as popular as they were when “Chaos Control” hit MTV and they were playing with the likes of The Supertones on a regular basis. I don’t know why bands like this don’t get more attention, but today, “The Crucial Conspiracy” is my pick to start October or any month.

Pick up “The Crucial Conspiracy” HERE, but look out for the limited edition all grey Vinyl record. It’s really rare.

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