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Amph What Album Did You Just Hear?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    Sector 2 (2011) - Rush

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    Okay, so this is the box-set for all those Rush albums I’ve been listening to. I thought I’d just do a quick round-up of my thoughts on the set as a whole. The set is, of course, remastered and, having not heard the originals, all I can say is that the sound is genuinely superlative. Given the fact that I didn’t really love the albums, it brings to mind the old joke: I have heard many better albums; I have seldom heard any albums better. The set contains a DVD with a “DVD-Audio” mix of A Farewell to Kings. I played it on my big sound system at home through my BR player and I couldn’t tell any appreciable difference between the DVD and CD of the album, but whatever. The set definitely worked for my purposes, as in giving me several albums to listen to at one go and also to really catch a transitional period. It was cool to go hear A Farewell to Kings and Hemispheres back to back and get the whole Cygnus thing and to see them really push the experimentation to extreme levels. And then to pop out the wildly experimental Hemispheres and immediately pop in Permanent Waves and hear the band go as pop as they did on that album was also really cool; it really helped me kind of see the progression of the band over a fairly tumultuous five year period of their career and the contrasts in the sound stood out really sharply because of that. Unfortunately, I ended up not caring for the music that much, but viewed as a box set, it’s a good one. Still, with five albums under my belt, I feel I’ve given them a fair chance. I did a straight average of the ratings I gave the albums and came up with an overall rating of 1.8. That would round up to two, not down to one-and-a-half, I suppose, so that seems fair. Taken as a whole, this box set is pretty well just average. I’d say don’t bother. 2 stars.

    tl;dr – box set is well put together and gives a solid overview of the band’s evolution over five years, but, unfortunately, it’s hard to care when the music is, by and large, bland. 2 stars.

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  2. CloneUncleOwen

    CloneUncleOwen Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 30, 2009
    A modern day warrior
    Mean mean, pride
    If Rush releases another remix of Moving Pictures
    I'll commit suicide

    (deeeee doo dee doo dee doo, deeeee doo dee doo dee...)
     
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  3. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    Once I Was an Eagle (2013) - Laura Marling

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    In this era of songs purchased all on their own, I seem to be encountering of late a lot of artists who are trying to make their albums kind of justify their status as genuine albums via a lot of thematic repetition from song to song, a lot of music bleeding from track to track, repetition of lyrics from song to song, etc. Jon Hopkins’ masterful electronic album Immunity is a great example as is another album that I’m listening to at the moment, M.I.A.’s Matangi. And, because this whole thing would be pointless if this wasn’t the case, this album right here. Marling is a singer-songwriter type; this album is entirely acoustic, I think. It does play with things in some interesting ways; the music has a lot of folk influences in the acoustic guitar work and the lyrical content and tone of some of the songs, like the dark, clearly Robert Johnson influenced Devil’s Resting Place or the more upbeat tragic death song Undine, which is very much a riff on the Carter Family’s style. But there is also, really intriguingly, a lot of eastern influence as well. A lot of the percussion is Middle Eastern in style; a lot of use of the tabla and other percussive influence, as well as some light sitar. This creates a kind of interesting contrast, I think. It’s a moody, melancholy album and a really quiet one too. Marling rarely gets above a tone of voice I’d probably call a murmur. The songwriting is good, obviously very Dylan influenced, though it never gets anywhere near that level of brilliance. A lot of the tracks bleed right into each other; this is particularly stunning with the first four tracks that essentially form one twenty-minute suite; those four tracks have some melodies in common as well as some guitar patterns. This recurs on the album and there’s some lyrical echoes too; it’s not as strong and obvious anywhere else as it is on these first four songs, and there’s a song later that actually quotes heavily from the opening suite as well. All in all, I found it to be an album that was more “interesting” than anything else. But “interesting” is better than a lot of things albums are nowdays, so that’s a good thing. Some of the songs are pretty throw-away, but when the songs work , as on the aforementioned Devil’s Resting place, the propulsive Master Hunter, the keening Pray For Me, the broken lament Once or the striking, angry opener Take the Night Off, they really, really work. The strength of the songs that work and the interesting fusion of the album more than balance the weak tracks. It’s flawed, but still an album worth your time; it unfolds on repeated listens too, so don’t let your first listen, which will probably be kind of frustrating, put you off of it. Recommended. 3 ½ stars.

    tl;dr – strange fusion of styles and a distinct desire to create a cohesive song-suite as opposed to a disconnected album create an intriguing soundscape with some very solid songwriting. 3 ½ stars.

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  4. yankee8255

    yankee8255 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2005
    You forgot the twenty minute long drum solo. Because the drummer whose name I can't be bothered to Google is the BEST DRUMMER EVAR!
     
  5. Frank T.

    Frank T. Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    A Live One
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    This is my favorite album for almost twenty years now. My top ten changes constantly except for this. And here's my favorite track:



    Jon Fishman is the drummer.


    You Enjoy Myself


    Stash


    The Squirming Coil
     
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  6. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    Are you familiar with Analyze Phish? It's this amazing podcast where Harris Wittels of Parks & Rec tries to help Scott Aukerman of Comedy Bang Bang understand why he loves Phish. It's only like ten episodes long and it's hilarious (but I'm a huge Comedy Bang Bang fan, so maybe I'm biased).
     
  7. Frank T.

    Frank T. Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    I am not familiar with the podcast or those two shows. I'll check out the podcast.
     
  8. Six

    Six Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 9, 2014
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    I listened to it because my Lord and saviour Steven Wilson name dropped it in a video. It was a weird album.
     
  9. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006) - Bruce Springsteen

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    So, on this album Springsteen works with a lot of folk musicians instead of his usual stable of musicians and the album is entirely covers of songs either written or popularized by Pete Seeger. The album seems poised to be either a masterpiece or a disaster. It’s a masterpiece. It is, I think, as genuinely energetic and exalted as Springsteen as ever been; a lot of songs that people call energetic are really more what I’d call desperate (Born to Run is a perfect example). But this is just a good ol’ fashioned stomper. The band is phenomenal and I just loved every second of this album. I loved every song on it, frankly. Be sure to get the American Land edition which has four or five extra tracks on it and they’re every bit as good as the album as a whole. The album just captures all these songs in near perfect, often definitive ways: the menacing, grim Erie Canal; the stomping, brass heavy gospel riff on Jacob’s Ladder; the quiet despair of Bring ‘Em Home; the lilting loveliness of Shenandoah; the burning anger of How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times & Live?; the witty, charming lope of Froggie Went A-Courtin’; the sloppy, wild Buffalo Gals; the beautiful balladry of My Oklahoma Home. God, I could write a good two sentences about every song on the album; but I won’t. I’ll just tell you it’s a great album and you really must hear it. Highly recommended. 4 stars.

    tl;dr – a rootsier sound and a set of Seeger covers revitalizes Springsteen; this album of folk songs is a full-on, emotionally riveting masterpiece. 4 stars.

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  10. CloneUncleOwen

    CloneUncleOwen Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 30, 2009
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    The Endless River - Pink Floyd

    Pink Floyd's final album is essentially a collection of seventeen tracks of incidental music recorded in 1993, with a new single
    (the only lyrical song) recorded in 2014. Taken all together, it feels like a New Age ambient album with a sense of foreboding
    and dreary sadness. Half of the eighteen total tracks are under two minutes long; only two are over five minutes in length,
    creating an odd pastiche of disjointed Pink Floyd sounds and styles. There are a few tracks worthy of note:

    It's What We Do - a slow, instrumental variation on Welcome to the Machine.

    Sum, and Skins - consecutive tracks that are largely a tom cascade reminiscent of A Saucerful of Secrets.

    Allons-y(1), and Allons-y(2) - two tracks that give a glimpse of what Sorrow could have been with a much brighter tempo.

    Talkin' Hawkin' - pure spacey Gilmour with electronic voice samples of Stephen Hawking. I prefer the howling dog in Seamus.

    Louder Than Words - a mildly beautiful David Gilmour/Polly Samson lyrical track with smooth circa 1993 style Gilmour guitar riffs.

    Despite its nature, I generally enjoyed the album, flaws and all, with the caveat that I am quite sentimental regarding Pink Floyd,
    and that the impressions of the tracks listed above are of my own opinion.

    Cheers.
     
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  11. LostOnHoth

    LostOnHoth Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 15, 2000
    Dream Theater- Octavarium. Fantastic album.

    Judas Priest- Painkiller. Priest at their best.

    Crimson Glory- Transcendence. Most underrated band and album.
     
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  12. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    Impersonator (2013) - Majical Cloudz

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    This is a strange sort of almost ambient electronic album that really unfolded for me on repeated listens. I can’t stress enough that you need to listen to this album a few times before judging it. On my first listen, I just found it all pretty opaque, but as I listened to it a few more times, it just really opened up and became this beautiful masterpiece. It’s a really mellow album and I mean that in a good way. The synths and textures are these dense, spacious washes of sound and the beats, when they’re there at all, are generally sparse and minimalist. There was one track that had a single bass drum keeping a steady beat, but it was layered so far back under the single synthesizer on that track that I didn’t even hear it until about my third listen to the song. I like Devon Walsh’s voice quite a lot too; it’s a sort of somber baritone and he kind of intones his lyrics as much as he sings them. Anyway, this is an album that will probably seem frustrating and even off-putting on your first listen, but it’s only about forty minutes, so you’ve got the time to play it through a couple more times and by then, I think, you’ll have caught the minimal groove of the album and really appreciate it. Anyway, as it turned out for me, it’s really a great album. Highly recommended. 4 stars.

    tl;dr – minimal electronic album frustrates, then challenges and ultimately coheres into a masterpiece; give this one repeated listens before giving up on it. 4 stars.

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  13. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 2, 2000
    Trouble Will Find Me (2013) - The National

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    Finally caught up with this album from last year and it’s really a masterpiece. It isn’t anything like an evolution of The National’s sound; they’re clearly sticking with what works for them. That doesn’t bother me since it works so darn well. This album is really a deeply evocative, emotionally striking journey into, or through or around, a sort of pained dissatisfaction. At times, it’s despairing. At other times, it’s grief stricken. At still others, it finds a quiet, slightly hopeful tone, though not very often. This isn’t the album for you if you’re into hard-rockin’, high energy songs. The songs here are really all laments of one kind or another, mostly about personal failure, and they come in dark minor keys, with somber, moody arrangements and languid, if surprisingly solid, beats. The lyrics are cynical and bitter, wearily sung in a dark baritone. It’s a dark album, one of the darkest I’ve heard since Dylan’s Time Out of Mind actually, and that album remains a personal touchstone for me. But it’s the loveliness of these songs that carries the album through and makes it more than just a naval gazing suicide note set to music. The melodies are really evocative and the arrangements, while somber, find moments of real beauty. I would really say every song on this album is a four star song, I think. If I had to pick a few, I’d look at the piano based Heavenfaced, the surprisingly rousing Don’t Swallow the Cap, and the grim, pained Humiliation. Maybe my favorite is Pink Rabbits, a song of despair and sorrow with a gorgeous melody. Anyway, it’s an album that really spoke to me and I loved it more every time I heard it through. The National is reaching toward the human condition here and the reach isn’t annoying. And the album succeeds a lot at capturing absolute truth: “It wasn’t like a river/It was more like a sea/I didn’t ask for this pain/It just came over me.” Highly recommended. 4 stars.

    tl;dr – dark, moody album explores depression, dissatisfaction and loneliness with a sharpness and beauty that catapults it past mopey shoegazing and into the realm of genuine masterpiece; 4 stars.

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  14. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 24, 2014
    Stone Gossard Bay leaf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  15. A Chorus of Disapproval

    A Chorus of Disapproval TV Screaming Service / FFS! star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Aug 19, 2003
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    Wondrous Bughouse (2013) - Youth Lagoon

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    This is a really weird album. Youth Lagoon is the sobriquet of musician/singer/songwriter Trevor Powers, so this isn’t actually a “group.” Powers is one of those “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of guys apparently. These tracks are strange, dissonant, cacophonous electronic raves. Powers’ voice is raspy, weird and kind of unsettling. Parts of this album reminded me a whole lot of Van Dyke Parks’ Song Cycle, one of my least favorite albums. But, oddly, I didn’t hate this album. I gave it a few listens and it never came together, made any sense or really impressed me in any other way than just marveling at the production that created the dissonant, off-beat, off-key arrangements. Something about the sheer intensity of the wall of sound carries it a bit and it is never annoying or painful; it just never really adds up to anything but a lot of noise. Occasionally, as on the gorgeous, if still really odd, Sleep Paralysis, Powers strips down and gets minimal and spooky and that works better in my opinion. It’s just . . . not my thing. Again, it’s kind of a huge achievement that the album is actually listenable and even enjoyable really; superficially it’s the kind of album I typically absolutely loathe and find genuinely rage-inducing to listen too. Somehow Powers managed to make it all sound . . . weirdly lush instead of just jagged and ugly. Still, it’s not an album I’d waste my time on if I was you. Recommended against. 2 stars.

    tl;dr – strange, dissonant, discordant, cacophonous wall of sound isn’t grating, but neither is it all that pleasant or even consistently interesting; astonishing production but what’s it all for? 2 stars.

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  17. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Nov 2, 2000
    True Romance (2013) - Charli XCX

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    Charli XCX made her major label debut with this album and it’s a darn good debut, partly because it’s the result of several years of small label and unreleased work. It’s very much a sort of dance-pop album, though it has a lot of darker tones and minor keys that make it a more haunting entry into that genre. But the songs here are really the key and they’re well-crafted and memorable. The songs are starting to kind of run together near the end and the ones that aren’t that great are pretty forgettable. But when the album works, it really, really works. I think my favorite song is Set Me Free, an energetic, twitchy plea for freedom from a cruel lover. Cloud Aura features a fantastic rap verse by someone named Brooke Candy; Black Roses is a grim, implacable little tune; What I Like is a standout track as well and easily the most exuberantly happy on the album. This album doesn’t immediately set Charli up as a ground-breaking, distinctive artist, but it sets her up as a solid contributor to her chosen genre and that’s more than a lot of debut albums do. For all the darkness, this feels like a great party record to me; the beats are energetic and interesting enough to keep the party hopping for the hour or so the album plays. And I like Charli’s voice; she’s got a host of influences, most of them from the eighties, and she wears them on her sleeve, but she manages to pull them off some of the time. There’s one tune, though which one it is escapes me at the moment, where her voice really is a dead ringer for eighties Madonna. In short, I’m going to give this one a recommended. 3 ½ stars.

    tl;dr – production balances darker tones and dance-pop to create a party record with a bit more going on under the surface; occasionally somewhat uninspired, but many of the songs are pop masterworks. 3 ½ stars.

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  18. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Aug 20, 2003
    VIVIsectVI
    Skinny Puppy
     
  19. A Chorus of Disapproval

    A Chorus of Disapproval TV Screaming Service / FFS! star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
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  20. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    2013 Grammy Nominees (2013) - Various Artists

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    So, it’s the yearly album with a bunch of Grammy nominated songs and songs by Grammy nominated artists. I got this last year, but just hadn’t ever gotten around to actually listening to it. Well, I’ve heard some of these albums before that barely had a decent song on them. This isn’t one of those albums. This is really a strong compilation CD. Now, do all of these songs deserve Grammy noms? Probably not. Are there other, better songs that deserved nominations? Sure, you bet. But just as a mixtape, this is darn great. It kicks off with the barnburning riff of The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy and wraps up, twenty-two tracks down the road, with an epic live performance of Set Fire to the Rain by Adele. In between, we’ve hit epic power-pop (Fun’s We Are Young), quiet acoustic balladry (Ed Sheeran’s The A Team), retro gospel-rock (Alabama Shakes’ Hold On), straight-up anthem rock (Springsteen’s We Take Care of Our Own), weirdo indie music (Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know), lovely folk songs (The Lumineers’ Ho Hey & Mumford & Sons’ I Will Wait) and electro-pop (Muse’s Madness). This is all great, great stuff. And the album has a load of pop music that a lot of music snobs will be too cool for school to admit they love, but I’m not too proud. I downright love Pink’s Try, Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger and, yes, I’m going there, Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. There are a few missteps; Frank Ocean’s Pyramids is edited down to less than half its original length, I still fail utterly to see the appeal of Miguel’s strangely soulless R&B and if I never hear Hunter Hayes’ sappy Wanted again it’ll be fine with me. But, on the whole, this is a packed album with twenty-two tracks that keep the energy high and the quality pretty consistently good. All in all, it’s an album I find myself recommending, which is kind of surprising. 3 ½ stars.

    tl;dr – compilation of Grammy songs speaks to a pretty good year in pop music; unlike some years, almost every song on this album is really good. 3 ½ stars.

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  21. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

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    Jul 13, 2008
    The Complete Machine Gun Sessions - The Peter Brötzmann Octet

    It's like a comfortable blanket resting at some happy medium between, say, Albert Ayler and Naked City in terms of improvisational cacophony. So I guess the blanket is made of rusty nails or something. But, like, good rusty nails. Rusty nails you can appreciate.

     
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  22. AndyLGR

    AndyLGR Jedi Grand Master star 4

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    May 1, 2014
    AC/DC Rock or Bust, a solid album IMO.
     
  23. Master_Lok

    Master_Lok Force Ghost star 6

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    Dec 18, 2012
    Presently listening to Ennio Morricone's score for the Fifth Cord (Giornata Nera Per L'Ariete). Super creepy and a neat mix of jazz, classical and spooky.
     
  24. wall of sick

    wall of sick Jedi Padawan star 3

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    Sep 9, 2014
    i love its dryness. it might be the driest album in the history of the world.
     
  25. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 24, 2014
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    REST IN PEACE SHANNON HOON ....