Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: Lush- Blind Spot EP

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It seems like every group is getting back together in recent years. Even groups such as Guns N' Roses, who said they would never reunite, are teaming up for reunion shows. A lot of these reformations have also resulted in new material, to mixed results. We've seen successes (MBV), failures (Indie Cindy), and frustrating mixed results (Anthems for Doomed Youth). I am happy to report that the new EP from the newly reformed Lush is as successful as I could have hoped.

As shoegaze bands go, Lush are one of my favorites. They are more subdued than My Bloody Valentine and other noise driven shoegaze acts, eschewing ear shatteringly loud guitar fuzz for jangly, reverb washed chords and greater emphasis on lyrics, though still obscured in a dreamy haze. Near the end of their initial run, Lush also experimented with Britpop, giving up some of their dream pop leanings for a punkier edge and even more lyrical maturity. I feel like Blind Spot marries these eras beautifully, producing a bouncy and dreamy 12 string guitar driven record reminiscent of their early material, but boasting the more introspective and thoughtful lyrics of Lovelife era Lush.

My favorite track here has to be 'Burnham Beaches', with its sing along hook, sugary melody and laid back but driving beat. And also its about a couple that hates being around other people, which I can identify with (probably more than I'd like to admit). 'Lost Boy' is also a great song, which focuses on a break up on its surface, but can also be read into as dealing with the loss of their original drummer Chris Acland to suicide in 1996, leading to the band's original dissolution (Justin Welch of Elastica provides drums here, and does an admirable job).

All in all, I think this is a great EP, and hopefully a sign of more material to come. I really enjoy the songs, the fusion of the sounds Lush were experimenting with in their later days with their more characteristic approach, and the ever strengthening songwriting chops of Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson.

Out of a total of five stars, I give this:

What did you think of this record? Are there current releases that you're currently really excited about. Stay tuned for more upcoming reviews.

"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Record Store Day 2016

Record Store Day was on Saturday, and again, I was drawn in by a few records, and left with a lot more. I got to the record store a half an hour early, and the line was already around the block. I'm surprised I actually got pretty much all I set out to get, minus the Ramones demo single. I guess that's what Ebay is for. So, this is what I ended up getting:

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Image result for bob dylan melancholy rsd13th Floor Elevators- You're Gonna Miss Me Picture Disc
An impulse buy. I saw that this was a regional release, so I didn't think, I'd even have the opportunity to buy it, but when I saw it, I grabbed it. Their first record is great, and this single is a great addition to any psych rock collection.

Bob Dylan- Melancholy Mood EP

Image result for junior kimbrough daft punk rsdA previously Japan only EP of Frank Sinatra covers. Um... Yes? This is also a preview of Dylan's next album, which acts as a sequel to his previous covers record, Shadows in the Night.

Junior Kimbrough- I Gotta Try You, Girl (Daft Punk Remix)
Another impulse buy of mine. The two artists here are so mismatched, I kind of had to. Plus, the etching on the B-side is pretty cool.

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Lush- Origami
This is the one I would have been super bummed if I didn't get. After I grabbed it, I could take it easy. This is essentially their entire output, minus the Black Spring EP (it's included on their Chorus CD box set if you're interested), and the new EP. Guess what I'll be reviewing next?

Image result for manic a design for life rsdManic Street Preachers- A Design For Life
I was looking for this as well, and was actually really surprised when I saw the cover. You can't really tell from this photo or the listing from Record Store Day, but this is packaged in a really cool reflective copper sleeve. With all the new Manics reissues for Record Store Day, I'm hoping to expand my collection even further in the following years.

London Collection, Volume 3

Thelonious Monk- The London Collection Volume 3

I was gifted Volume 2 last year and enjoyed it, so I thought I might pick this up. I'll have to look online to buy volume 1. I'm a completion-ist, what can I say? If you're a jazz fan, you should check this out. Thelonious Monk is one of the better artists in the genre, and played with a lot of great names as well.

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The Monkees- Logo Picture Disc
A gift for my girlfriend. She grew up with reruns of the show and with the music. Me, not so much. It's a cool shaped disc, though.

Iggy and the Stooges- Metallic KO
I've listened to the studio albums by the Stooges and seen some live footage, but never heard this live set. Apparently, you can hear beer bottles breaking against guitar strings, so that's awesome. Also, the lore surrounding their final shows of the '70s and this record made this pretty compelling. It also comes of metallic colored vinyl.

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The Turtles- Happy Together
This was another gift for my girlfriend, though I also really love this song. This single combines both the mono and stereo mixes on tortoise green vinyl. Not really sure if there's really any distinct difference between the mixes besides what channels emit what, but I guess we'll just have to see.

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The White Stripes- The Complete John Peel Sessions
Another gift for my girlfriend. She really enjoys the White Stripes, me a little less so. This will compliment her Get Behind Me, Satan reissue nicely. There are some pretty interesting covers on here, though. If you're a Jack White fan, and want another of his ever increasing live recordings, check this out.

Image result for jack white muppets rsdJack White and the Electric Mayhem- You are the Sunshine of My Life
It's Jack White and the Muppets singing Stevie Wonder. How could I not? I wasn't able to pick this up at the store, so I Ebayed it. I got the black copy, though. The Kermit green copies were going for waaaaay too much. I was intrigued, but not that intrigued.

Image result for zappa my guitar rsdFrank Zappa- My Guitar b/w Dog Breath

The obligatory Zappa single of Record Store Day. Haven't unpacked it yet to see what color it is, but I'm not really concerned. These are apparently different versions than the album versions, so I'm pretty excited to hear those. The first incarnation of the Mothers up until their disbandment is my favorite Zappa era, so I'm glad that the Zappa family trust is unearthing this material. I'm hoping for some deluxe vinyl reissues of Freak Out! or We're Only in it for the Money.

So those are my acquisitions. Are there any records you were hoping to grab, or are excited you got before they were gone? Check back in for my review of the new Lush EP, Blind Spot.

"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."