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Old 11-04-2012, 08:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
The Big Dog
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Default Killuminati, Arab Money and a Semester Abroad.

I've been here some time now. I tend to come and go, moving from place to place.
I never felt as if I truly belonged in any one place, in any one pursuit.
I move from person from person, friend to friend.
Those that I once considered friends, I grew apart from, I grew tired of, I grew to resent.
I grew to resent a lot of things, perhaps this is reflected in my music tastes.

I look at the albums I owned in younger years, I resent them.
I resent the mere memory that I once thought said albums may be the epitome of all that was good taste within music.
Some may label a scenester, a hipster. That I just move towards liking what's trendy, what's cool at this present moment.
When others have caught up, I turn my back on it. I denounce it.
It's no longer the artwork I touted it as being.

I don't believe this is who I am, in fact I know it isn't.
But, I wouldn't expect others to know that. It is true that I turn off music when others begin to show interest in it.
I'm sure there are those of you who can empathise with me.
When you hear a particular brand of music, an album, a song that sparks something inside of you. That feeling is yours. Yours alone.

Nobody has ever told me what to like, if they have I'll almost certainly turn against it.
I don't go out of my way to be against the norm, to be different.
It subconsciously has always been the case. To antagonise others with my refusal to follow the norm.

Therefore to reiterate an earlier point, when I have a piece of music in my possession, in my mind. It's mine. My feeling. In my mind, unique to me.
When I see another person touting that particular artist/album/music that I turned them onto, I'm happy that someone else can share the experience with me.
When the masses tune in, when the majority try to identify with the very essence of what I felt, it's no longer mine.

These people don't understand me, we are not like-minds.
There are very few intellectually compatible people on this earth I believe.
The human mind has evolved to a stage where I don't believe we should all feel the same way. The majority should not hold a mutual feeling, a mutual admiration for something so special as what certain pieces of music provoke inside an individual.

Perhaps this is why I seek to evolve, to move onto what's next.
Not just in music, in life.
If you're reading this, you don't know me. You have no idea about who I am in real life.
I could be living vicariously through an internet gimmick.
A figment of my own imagination which I portray as myself, therefore I'm not going to shower this thread with information about myself.

Nor am I here to lazily post YouTube videos and say
'yeah good song' 'check out their debut'
I'm here to tell a story, to talk about music, to really talk about music. And my feelings towards other subjects.

This is a music forum. I appreciate 50% of the websites title is made up the colloquial term 'Banter', but is this website really a 50/50 split of the two.
Or do we have many members whose sole purpose here is to be the class clown.
The guy first with the lame pun or attempt at humour, last with substantial input or thought.
Is this site true on its offer of providing music related discussion.
I don't think so. This journal is where it evolves into that.

Now, I can't promise I'll update every day, I don't have the insatiable appetite for blog writing that Trollheart has. I appreciate the effort he puts into his work and although I have never held conversation with him, he epitomises the attitude and efforts many more of you need to make, myself included to help this website evolve into everything it can be.
I will update this journal when I feel I have something that needs to be said.
Something that needs to be shared.

I shall leave it at that for the time being, hit me up, block me, write a meaningless post about me in the Spill My Guts thread, I don't give a ****.


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Old 11-05-2012, 06:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the huge compliment Manky (not sure if it's deserved or not), and welcome to the world of music journals. I look forward to seeing yours evolve, and I get the feeling --- however cliched this may come out --- that you stand on the cusp of something truly great.

Now, don't forget to check out this band's debut!
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So I got to thinking, do people feel obligated to like certain artists/certain albums.
I haven't heard anyone on here say anything against Pink Floyd, could it be that they're so good that everyone actually likes them?

It seems Dark Side Of The Moon makes every greatest album of all time's list, which I don't buy into because according to said lists; albums like Nevermind are considered better than everything that came thereafter.
Nirvana aren't even good. I mean, really what's so fantastic about them?
Remember the first time you heard Cobain growl and you weren't sure you liked it, but felt almost inclined to play along because everyone else liked it.
Could it be their records were so bad, that the hype surrounding them blinded or perhaps - deafened you to them. Made you ignorant of their sound.

Apologies for the second person perspective, this isn't aimed at anyone in particular, it just annoys me to think that Nirvana are considered one of the greatest bands of all time by out-of-touch publications and alienated individuals who think Cobain spoke to them.
He didn't. He didn't speak to anyone. Have you ever read his lyrics?

So how does this relate to Pink Floyd?
Are there those out there who feel bound to the band, swept up in waves of hype. I remember seeing some douchebag down the pub wearing a Pink Floyd shirt, I asked him his favourite album, he couldn't think of one.
Now, I'm not a Pink Floyd fan, I don't wear the t-shirts, I don't tout their praises mindlessly on facebook. But even I know and own some of their albums.
Does this douchebag represent the people who feel obligated to like critically renowned bands like Pink Floyd?

I listened to Dark Side of the Moon again yesterday. I've been listening to it a fair bit recently. I work at a bar in a Spannish restaurant/hotel and it's a requirement to always have music on. To be fair to my employers, it's not a bad selection of albums I have at my disposal excluding the Bing Crosby Christmas album which I am denouncing before even playing.
First shift I worked, I browsed the music collection and picked out Dark Side of the Moon.
I played it, most shifts I do.
There's a certain calm amongst the technical musicianship which makes for good background music, the soothing lyrics that hit on Breathe after a few minutes of progressive build, a.k.a the first track.
I listen to it with headphones at home, the sounds are clearer, crisper, the layers of instruments become more apparent, quite clever in arrangement.

Yesterday, not only did I listen to Dark Side of the Moon, but I also listened to this record again;

For those of you unfamiliar with this record, which I'd wager most are as this forum is deprived of post-hardcore fans to the best of my knowledge, it's by a band called The Blood Brothers. The album 'Burn Piano Island Burn'

Now, I can't think of two more polarising albums in terms of sound, but these two records are much more similar than one may think.
First off, I'll start by saying, I don't really understand either record, but I enjoy listening to them regardless.

Dark Side of the Moon is good, no doubt. But I don't understand its cult following.
Sure, technically, the band are talented musicians, but is it the most technically astute record ever? No.
Sure there are nice harmonies which makes for easy listening, especially when compared to Burn Piano Island Burn, but is it the most harmonic, smoothest album ever? No.
Perhaps it's an all-rounder? Its versatility may be the reason for its long lasting success.
I don't understand all the hype though. Sure it's good, but what exactly qualifies it as one of the best records ever?
I haven't delved deep into the albums meaning. I'm sure there's some deep-rooted concept that leaves Pink Floyd fans in floods of their own semen, but that doesn't interest me.

As I said in my first Journal entry. I want music to mean something to me.
Perhaps this is why I struggle to connect with this record. It doesn't really speak to me. I have listened a number of times, and although I quite like it and its good music to fall asleep to, it never stays in my memory.
Can I recall the latter part of the album? No.
I listened yesterday.

You may think this is due to a lack of memory proficiency on my behalf.
On the contrary, the first time I heard Blood Brothers's 'Burn Piano Island Burn' it sunk into my subconscious straight away.
It was one of those records that the opening few seconds of the opening song, I thought 'wow, this is different? I don't understand what this is but I don't really care'
I listened on intently searching for answers as to what it was I was listening to. To this day, I have no idea.
Burn Piano Island Burn is one of the most energetic, chaotic records I've ever heard. Constantly jumping around with its infectious 'catchiness' (not a real word, perhaps I should consult a thesauras) and outright off-the-wall attitude supported by a vocalist who squeaks, squeals, screams and serenades in the oddest of fashion.

The record kept me coming back due to its raw enthusiasm and charisma.
Every time I listen, it's an incredible blast of noisy yet really well structured and cleverly processed carnage.
Dark Side of the Moon keeps me coming back in my search for it to finally click, for it to finally ingrain itself in my memory, for it to finally make sense to me.

Maybe in that I favour a record like Burn Piano Island Burn to Dark Side of the Moon speaks volumes about me.
Dark Side of the Moon is calm; controlled, reliable and soothing.
Burn Piano Island Burn is erratic; wild, antagonistic and attitudinal.

Both have the distinction of being very good records performed by talented sets of musicians. Similar in that they both leave me puzzled.
I read so much about The Blood Brothers clever lyrics. How clever and witty they are.
I have no doubt they are very clever. However I have no idea what these lyrics are.
I have no idea what the two front men are saying through their vast vocal range as the screams are hard for me to translate.
Sure, I can pick out words here and there, but it doesn't matter what they're saying. Just like when struggling to interpret a love scene from a foreign romantic film or even listening to Gangam Style, it's better not to know what's being said. Knowing may take away from the moment. Take away from what you think of the song/scene.
I like Burn Piano Island Burn so much because I don't understand it.
It's just a fun record which leaves you humming the various disorderly melodies.
I don't need it to be made crystal clear, some things are better left not said.

In contrast, I see the two records as so;

Imagine watching a gazelle drinking majestically from the lake in its natural habitat. A cool breeze in the air. Relaxed. Tranquil. It's a thing of beauty to watch nature in such surroundings.
This is Dark Side of the Moon.

Now imagine that same gazelle galloping frantically across the planes. It's being chased by a blood thirsty lion who roars on after it sensing the destruction it's about to cause in order to feast and salivating at the lips at the prospect of devouring its prey.
This is Burn Piano Island Burn.

Both are, whether you like it or not, displays of nature in motion.
Both are fascinating to watch in there own ways.
Just as nice as it is to see an old vintage car chugging along with the roof down on a sunday afternoon, it's also impossible to look away from a car crash.

For me, I find destruction fascinating. Watching the world crumble is unintentionally gripping.
Watching last years London Riots was the most glued to news coverage I've ever been.
It kept me coming back, not because I liked the thoughts of the many people suffering. No, because part of me was drawn to the intrigue of chaos.

Just like with Dark Side of the Moon, sure it's nice and I'd listen to it, it's not got the unorthodox and unpredictable nature which makes Burn Piano Island Burn so compelling.

I'm sure there are many would disagree, but perhaps I can relate to the Blood Brothers. Piano Island wherever it may be, it'd be a whole lot more interesting to see, burning.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think you're doing a superb job with your well-thought-out analysis here MC. I love DOStM and would certainly consider myself a fan, however the albums I have are all more of what would be considered "bandwagon-jumpers", in that they all come after that one: "The Wall", "Wish you were here", "Final cut", "A momentary lapse" and "Division bell". Okay, I own "Meddle" and have listened to it once, maybe twice, and I've never really heard "Animals" all the way through, but the older albums? The Syd era, the "Pipers" and the "Saucerfulls" and even the likes of "Atom heart mother"? Never heard them. Bits of, yes. But I've never been that impressed/interested that I HAD to go buy, or acquire them.

But if I like Pink Floyd it's because, well, I like their music, not because I feel I have to. There are HUGE bands I don't quite dislike but have little interest in, that to admit such would bring a huge roar of disapproval/disbelief from certain quarters: the Stones. The Who. The Beatles. The Kinks. Nir-bloody-vana! And I hate Elvis with a passion; always have, always will.

But throughout my life I have bought records for one reason and one reason alone: that I like the artiste. I don't care who else does. It's one reason why my first stay here was curtailed when I perceived too much elitism in members and that my musical tastes, seen as pedestrian or even mainstream were being looked down on, as if I hadn't got the sense or the let's say breeding to look beyond those and discover the delights of bands I'd never even heard of, or wanted to, but that half or more of the people here were totally into.

Anyone who follows a band or artiste, or buys their music because they think they have to, or should, is kidding themselves. This is a case of following fashion in music terms: all my friends like Westlife (for example) so I should too, even though I think they suck but I'd never say that in front of them. My buddies are all into hardcore metal so I have to be too, even though I'd rather listen to a George Michael album. People feel they have to fall in with the crowd, that to have a different or dissenting opinion is generally frowned upon, and runs you the risk of alienation.

And I say, what of it? If people aren't into my music then I consider that their loss. Maybe at some point they'll discover it and see what they've been missing. Or not. But I would never listen to something just because I thought I had to, or was expected to, or should. I would take recommendations, certainly, but as with Bon Iver, I make my own mind up, and yes, I agree, I fail to see what was so great about Nirvana. Never liked them.

As for Floyd, sure I like them but I do because I do, if that makes sense. DSOtM speaks to me in ways it may not to others; it evokes certain memories and brings back certain times, and I always, always enjoy listening to it. If Burn Piano Island Burn does this for you, then fair play because you've discovered something that may be personally important to you, that others may not get, but again, that's their/our loss.

And I LOVE your description of Dark Side as the gazelle on the mountain...

Oh, and catchiness is a word...

Great journal so far, and I like the fact you shy away from les tubes of you: the way you use your descriptive prose to paint the picture is much more interesting. Keep it up!
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the feedback Trollheart, it's nice to know someone's reading out there.

In regards to Pink Floyd, I'm not a massive fan but I can appreciate the talent. I also picked up The Wall which bored me to within an inch of my life and steered me clear of picking up any other Pink Floyd releases.

It's interesting to me that you do not like The Who. I cannot fathom why, I don't see anything that may be potentially repelling about them. I'm not some fanboy by any means, but I've enjoyed every one of their records I've heard and there's definitely a great variety in their music. Usually; even in artists I like, I can see aspects of the artist that may not appeal to everyone, but The Who I cannot fathom the dislike for.
I'm sure you have your own reasons.
I also really enjoy Elvis Presley if just for the simplicity and 'catchiness' of his songs.
I don't mind The Kinks, I'm not interested in trying to defend the other artists.

Journal Entry No.3

It often perplexes me how competent musicians who gel together well in a band and have produced incredible albums in their lifetimes can also churn out sub-par albums.

It isn't for lack of talent, this much is evident in the fact that they can make good albums and have done so.
An unwillingness, a lack of enthusiasm? Perhaps.
Relentless touring and publicity which affects the most popular of musicians is bound to take a toll on musical output.
I then ponder if that is the case. Why put out a record at all?
If your heart's not in it and you're suffering from tour dates, media attention and playing the fame game, why thrust yourself back into the limelight with a new record.

Especially major label releases. Think of the touring; the promotion, the interviews, the marketing of a major artists upcoming record.
It's a lot to try and shove down the consumers throat to assure people buy the record.
But if it's not worthy of the hype that's inevitably going to precede its release, why bother releasing it at all?

If the records born out of frustration, exhaustion, why bother taking the time to record it at all. The idea of quitting whilst ahead, keeping a favourable image of your music in the eyes of the listener would seem like a better option.
Perhaps that's what the deliberate inductees of the 27 forever club had in mind.
They didn't want to reach the stage where they were releasing meaningless records for the sake of it and didn't think that they could ever recapture the fire and passion of their early works. Deciding to bow out whilst still ahead of mediocrity.

It seems like an extreme. But every artist must suffer from it at some point.
A creative blockage, once where the ideology of creating music was enough to drive them to success, merely sustaining their position within the industry and adding to the ever depleting quality of their discography has replaced what led them to success in the first place.

One need only look at Greenday for an example of this. It's not that Billie Joe Armstrong and co are not capable of putting out good records, they have done so.
Years ago, when rising up the ranks they were seen my many as a symbol of alienated youth. An angst ridden group of young men who wore their hearts on their sleeves and created music to express themselves.

Fast forward to 2012 and Greenday are releasing three records in one year (which unless you're The Weeknd is almost certainly setting yourself up to fall) and Billie Joe has had what for me was a toss up between on stage breakdown and cheap publicity attempt by losing his bearings during a live performance and slamming industry scapegoat Justin Bieber.

I don't think exhaustion is the key here. If one were to truly love music. To love their art, they'd know when to release records.
If you were growing distant from your passion, any right thinking individual would assume time away from said passion would be the best remedy to try and recapture a passion in it or to find that you no longer can connect with it, and move away completely.
It beggars belief that if you became so disengaged from music that you would continue to keep with it, whilst beginning to resent it.
Unless it was for financial reasons. I get that people have families, bills to pay, mouths to feed, rent to pay, etc. Lots of people work jobs they hate.
However I fail to believe this extends to artists such as Greenday who surely cannot be in any financial troubles.

Therefore, I introduce my theory. Why can an artist like Weezer produce a masterpiece of an album like Pinkerton and then go onto release an album like Raditude.
Simple. A change in circumstance.

Think about how many artists produced their best works in their early career and fell off the more they kept prolonging their careers.
When most of the songs from Pinkerton were written, it's to the best of my understanding they were written by an emotional teenager who channelled their true to life feelings into songs.
Songs such as Across The Sea and The Good Life are simple in topic yet have a genuineness unmatched in later releases.
Why is this?
Could it be, that when they were written, the artist was in a genuine state of mind. They were just expressing their true to life, everyday feelings about run-of-the-mill activities that many could relate to.

Everyone can relate to feelings of confusion about love, depression and a teenage anxiety of confusion.
This likely lead many people to begin supporting the artists, knowing that they could relate their feelings to that of the artist.
Because at the time, when Weezer wrote Pinkerton they were alike many of those who gained solace in the record.
They were average joes with a passion for music speaking about things that mattered to them, things that they cared for.
They weren't superstars. They weren't millionaires. Their problems were the same as many of their fans. They could be related to.

When a person has it all; money, fame, legions of fans, as many woman as they can the average person relate to them?
Try as they might to repeat past successes, it can not escape the feeling of falseness attached to the new material.
How can they embrace the same angst, the same emotion they had when they were teenagers questioning their place in life and high school status when they don't have those concerns any more.
They're successful, they're not like us any more. They made it. They grew up and regrettably they didn't allow their music to grow with them.
In trying to retain, trying to pretend they were the same angsty teenagers, they produced records of illegitimate emotions and subject matter which was no longer relevant to them which just ended up sounding forced, phony and immature.
It's Blink 182 syndrome. How can one take 40 year old men singing about first dates and skateboards seriously.

Weezer are a talented band despite what may be popular opinion, but they are not showcasing themselves as much with a reluctance or perhaps ignorance in adapting to the times.
Not that the world has changed. It hasn't. I guarantee as many young people can relate with Pinkerton now as they did in 1996.
The world hasn't changed, Weezer have.
They have not changed with their circumstances. Sure they can still sell records, but can their new material really match Pinkerton in terms of quality no.
Until they quit becoming a parody of their former selves they won't be able to make another Pinkerton.
Actually, they never will. They will never be those angst ridden teenagers again. Try as they might they will never capture those feelings, those emotions again.

People often ponder on here why emo is dead. It isn't. it is survived with every generation of young emotional people who come up through their teenage years and enter adult life.
Emo isn't dead, the artists just grew up.
Not to say emo is immature. It isn't. In my humble opinion it is the most open, brutally honest genre of them all.
However when a person settles into happy adult life with children and a secure job they can no longer relate with the scene.
Which is a hard but true reality. How can one who is perfectly content channel the raw emotion and misery within themselves to make an emo record?
Oh, they can try and you get albums like Raditude. They're just ****.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You make some really interesting points, in each of your posts actually, but I'll try and keep it up to date and just talk about the latest one.

I think you make some very good points about the changing fortunes of artists. Green Day didn't just wake up one day as poor musicians (although some will obviously argue they were never good to begin with) I liked them though, and while I wasn't exactly looking forward to this trio of albums of theirs I was at least hopeful. Needless to say I was massively disappointed.

Originally Posted by mankycaaant View Post

When a person has it all; money, fame, legions of fans, as many woman as they can the average person relate to them?
This is definitely a key point in the case of Weezer. It would be an interesting experiment, to introduce a person to Weezer in a reverse chronological order. Despite the obvious superiority of the Weezer/Pinkerton albums, would someone who enjoyed their later stuff and then listened to their early stuff be that impressed by it? I mean it's so ****ing samey..

Anyway, back to your point-I know what you're getting at with the whole "they're not like me" anymore idea, but in all honesty I think it's a bit simplistic to say some bands have it all as it were and then lose their inspiration. Not that i'm saying musicians have a hard life, far from it, just that fame, "success" the girls, the money can bring with it problems that "normal" people have themselves, like isolation perhaps. I think successful artists can still find that same emotion that they had when they began their careers albeit they will generally have to change and adapt their music-as you say. But yeah, in Weezer's case, they never really grew up..
Originally Posted by Goofle11 View Post
That's your opinion but you are wrong.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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So, I've been looking over the last year of music.
Contrary to what mindless youtube comment section lurkers and those who suffer from the chronic disease of mass-thinking would have you believe; music is better than it's ever been.

Now more so than ever, there is such a great variety of music being released weekly. Whether you're a fan of metal, hip-hop, electro, jazz or whatever, there are talented artists creating great albums in every genre of music IN 2012.
Music is susceptible to evolution just like life itself (sorry Bible bashers, read a f/cking book, and not the one with the woman getting swallowed by a whale)
and therefore will continue to grow and evolve, with music that adapts to the times, trends and goes beyond what many thought was possible years before.

Who could have imagined back when Elvis was recording in the Sun Studios, during the days Martin Luther King was still having wet dreams and Frank Sinatra had just signed for Capitol Records that in less than 60 years, music could be generated on computers (whatever they are) comprising of electronic rhythmic patterns, that black men would be releasing political tirades on former presidents and that a group like Death Grips would even exist.

Now that there are more people on earth than ever before, it seems just that there should be more music available to cater to the ever expanding tastes of the growing population.
Music is more readily available than ever before, I've got through nearly 100 albums this year without paying for one.
One need only search for an artist, an album and include the term 'zip' or 'rar' and have a decent chance of acquiring the record they desired.
We have radio stations dedicated to particular brands of music, growing underground scenes the world over as well as an uprising of independent artists.
There is more music than ever before, and it's never been easier to acquire (well, perhaps it was last year. f.u. US government!)

Everywhere you go, there are people listening to music. And the fact that there is enough music out there to cater to the number of people who own music playing devices is a testament to the industry itself.

Now, onto my point. It angers me when people say 'music isn't as good as 60's,70's,80's,90's,2008 or insert whatever small-minded response you want in here, because it undoubtedly is.
It doesn't make for a fair comparison if one were to take the weakest element of music in 2012 and compare it to one of the greatest from another era and proclaim this as evidence.
Imagine if science worked in the same way.
We'd still be stuck in the dark ages when Galileo Galilei had the intelligence and testicular fortitude to come forward and against popular belief and the masses informed ignoramuses that the earth indeed revolved around the sun.
How could one say, music is inferior in 2012 and point the finger towards mainstream and reality TV show fodder whilst presenting a valid argument.
They couldn't. They are dumb.

The beauty of being on a music forum is that we can discuss good music, of today and yesteryear without being bombarded by ignorant and unfounded jargon about comparing the two.
Yes, there are bad artists in 2012, who just so happen to be popular but on the other hand, nobody can say there has ever been a flawless musical era where every artist in that period was special.
No, believe me or not, there were bad artists in the 60's, 70's, 80's, dammit even in the 1800's that were their eras equivalent of T-Pain, Muse or The Enemy.
It seems with time eloping, that those who draw these wildly inaccurate comparisons conveniently sweep musical abominations such as Styx, Pat Boone and the Insane Clown Posse under the carpet, but they all happened!

I could say, "music sucked in the 80's. You had Styx, in 2012 we have The Saddest Landscape"
Would people see this as an unfair and selective statement? Yes.
So, why contradict oneself and throw out statements such as;
"One Direction can't hold a candle to The Beatles"
(Top youtube comment on The Beatles track 'follow the sun')

Last time I checked, One Direction were not attempting to be The Beatles Version 2.0. (that role has already unsuccessfully been attempted by the Gallagher brothers)
They appeal to a completely different demographic and create a completely different type of music.
This is not a fair comparison.

For those who are not willing to look past the mainstream in order to disprove their own theories that music is inferior in modern times, I pity their ignorance and stupidity.
In fact, no I don't. It's self inflicted.
If one were to find that music is indeed rich with incredible artists in 2012, they need only open their ears and listen to what is out there other than popular music.

Here's a twist. I like 2012 popular music.
When at a club, a social event or even at work, when artists such as Lady Gaga, The Wanted or Calvin Harris come on. I don't mind.
I enjoy their music for what it is. Catchy and easy to listen to.
Can you imagine what would happen if Radiohead came on at your local night club for instance or if Converge began playing on Absolute Radio.
People wouldn't understand. They wouldn't get it.
That is why pop music exists. It's there not to be taken too seriously.
It's supposed to appeal to those of limited musical taste, those who want an inoffensive and catchy song to sing and dance along to.
One that can be played to anyone, anywhere and won't alienate anybody.
If you take it for what it is, it's hard to hate on.

So when wannabe hipsters who have grown up on pop music suddenly catch their first whiff of artists like Nirvana, Beatles, Rolling Stones or whoever is a poster boy for guitars and nostalgia, they say;
'wait, this Nirvana band are better than what I hear nowadays'
And then they turn on popular music, without fully understanding why.
They feel as if they have hatched onto an epiphany of sorts. As if there hadn't been many millions of likeminds before them who had also been 'enlightened'
In fact, this 'enlightenment' had ironically made them even more ignorant.

They pine for eras gone by, as if all music from that era was of the same level as the artist they have just discovered.
What if instead of Beatles or Nirvana, they had discovered Silversun Pickups 2012 album 'Neck of the Woods'.
They could then say;
'wait this Silversun Pickups album is better than Lady Gaga'
This is a more accurate statement. It involves no sweeping generalisations.

Yes, I understand music is subjective. But, this is my journal and these are my opinions. So I am of the opinion that one artist can be superior to another.

If people find that they like artists similar to the Beatles, there are artists playing similar music in 2012. That does not mean the 60's are better than 2012. They are not. The same music (and much better music) exists in 2012, just go and look for it in the same way you went looking for The Beatles.

Plus, in eras gone by, artists only scraped the tip of the iceberg in what music can be. Music in 2012 combines past influences with innovation and evolution to create new and dynamic sounds and forms of music.
We have much more technically competent artists in 2012 as well as much more creativity. There are whole hosts of niche conceptual artists that cater to every unique taste out there. So, how could any one person be unsatisfied with what is produced in 2012?

If worst comes to worst and you can't get over Beatlemania, you could always see a tribute act in Majorca in the summer of 2013.
Yup, the music is out there to cater to EVERYONE even if you don't have the bravery to escape the past and try new things.

So, on another note. I was looking back over the past year trying to structure my favourite albums into some sort of list, a pretty hard task I may add.
I looked over my 2011 list for inspiration on ranking records and I recalled what an incredible year of music, last year was.
And whilst I am still awaiting 2012 releases and waiting for certain albums to 'grow' on me, I thought I'd have a run-down of 2011.
Therefore, starting this week I will present my top 25 albums of 2011 and hopefully by the time I have completed said list, I can start with my 2012 list.


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Old 11-27-2012, 05:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Extended Plays or EP's are frustrating.
If a band has a new track they've just created, they may release an EP.
First off, the chances are the track in question is rather good or the artist is quite excited about it, so excited that they cannot hold it off for their next album and want to share it with their fans now.

While that is all well and good. We can't knock a really good track being released, I don't think it's essential to create 2 or 3 below-par songs just to justify the release of an Extended Play to accompany the leading track.

Nor do I think there is much of a case for filling 15 minutes or so on an Extended Play with remixes of the leading track.
It just strikes me as a lack of creativity and imagination from the artist.
If you're so anxious to release a particular track, why put it out amongst pigswill and kill all momentum the track may have had.

On the other side of the tracks, there's the case that EP's are a cop out.
When an artist creates a good EP or two in the space of as many years without releasing a full length album, it's frustrating for fans... *cough* Burial *cough*
It's either a clever use of anticipation, just teasing the fan with promising snippets of new material or just the artist feeling - 'compulsed' is that a word? - that they have an obligation to release something, even if it's a daunting reminder of what may have been heard on a larger scale; a full length record.

Negativity being spouted early, EP's can be done right. And last year I counted at least 5 examples of such. I usually stay clear of EP's unless they're from an artist I particularly like. They tend to frustrate me, or are used by the artists as a way of test marketing a new sound direction.

However, that being said I shall present you all with my top EP's of last year.
*I've probably let a lot of goof EP's pass me by, so it's 5 of the best from what I heard, not all that were released*


Good Things Come In Small Packages; The 2011 Top 5 EP Countdown

No.5 Blawan - Bohla

Define electro music. It's such a vague description of a brand of music that incorporates so many different styles of music, using so many different production techniques.
Within the genre there are so many sub-genres with their own branches of sub-genres, which means there are no two identical electronic records.
So, this begs the question as to what the gold standard of electro is. What is the bar that artists must try and reach.

While I don't believe Blawan has set the bar for his brand of electro/house, he's created an interesting record full of odd sounds and an atmosphere that meanders the very thin line between lunacy and just plain old eccentricity.
(A trait which reminds me of my friend whom has just passed on, Howard the Duck. RIP buddy. )
First and foremost this is a headphone record. I never understood listening to electro music aloud. So many of the little things that add to the overall dynamic of the record are lost, if they're not relayed through headphones.
It's not a dumb AC/DC record, there are a lot of things going on in Blawan's music.

I see this record as a little like a restrained lunatic locked in a cell. Despite what may be the popular opinion of the 'lunatic' he does have something interesting on his mind that he wants to share, however the venom with which he spits it at you may turn any right-thinking person away.
If you persevere, you'll be rewarded with his knowledge.
He struggles to express himself, and his communication comes across violently and aggressively.

There are some sharp, harsh effects in this record, almost sounding alike really thick elastic bands pinging violently to and forth, layered with the voice of the man locked in the cell. Trapped and unable to fully get out. He can only speak through the thin vent of air he has been afforded.

Perhaps he's no man. The vocals which are locked behind so many layers of sound, are alike no man I've ever spoken to.
Almost extraterrestrial in how they come across. Unintelligible yet showcasing a certain human like state which is hard to point a finger at.
Perhaps this is what an extraterrestrial or alien is, just another almost human like character that no one can truly comprehend, although there is always the flicker within them that makes you think that one day the two can relate to one another.

When a Blawan track picks up pace and becomes more frenzied, that's when you can hear the artistic intent at its finest. Behind the layers of disturbed alien/lunatic voices and aggressive sounding beats, there is a talented artist carefully weaving the record together.
This is no more clear than on 'Lavender' a track which vibrates and crashes together with the might of high tide waves.
There is an intrigue in hearing the head-nodding lashings of the waves.
And, Blawan's EP leaves me with an intrigue in hearing what he'll do next.
Will we ever one day understand his message, or will it remain one of those things better not said.

No.4 Sound of Guns - Breakwater

I'll start by saying, I'm not sure I should like this record. It encompasses a lot of things I don't like about 'indie' music.
The whole laddish mentality of beer, cigarettes, leather jackets and footballing chants for choruses is here.
Don't get me wrong, I do like all those things, just not in one yobbish package.
Perhaps I'm a hypocrite, but there's a certain charm to this record.

It's not nearly as self worshipping as an Oasis record, as shamelessly clichéd as an Enemy record or as poorly put together as a Kasabian record.
I remember my college lecture saying of Kasabian that they;
"make music for those who don't like music"
And whilst I can see the psychology behind the statement, and knowing that it probably applies here, the band aren't the most technically competent nor do they trod on any new and exciting themes, there is undeniably a spark to this record.
Yes, Zane Lowe would have you believe it's the best thing since someone actually gave him a job in the radio industry despite having zero charisma, it's unmistakably good.

Stripping the EP of its two live recordings and retaining the three original tracks is definitely the way to go, and that's what I did.
All 3 songs are what you'd expect from an indie record geared at cracking the stadium sing-song mentality.
They're endearing and extremely catchy.
Not exactly complicated in structure, but I'm sure that's not what Sound of Guns were going for. They just wanted to create an EP with tracks that their fans could remember fondly and get behind.

I remember my friend was the one that put me onto this back in what, last March I think.
He's into his live bands and I've seen a few local artists with him.
Nothing special, but you'll be able to get a few beers and have a decent time.
That's Sound of Guns to a tee. They personify this 'local gig scene' full of young adults who sport stubble, ruffled hair, leather jackets and once tried to learn acoustic guitar.

I find it hard to hate on something which is as true to itself as this record is, even though third track 'Collisions' genuinely does have an 'Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh' chorus, there is a spark; a charm in this record that a lot of 'indie rock' bands could learn from.

Give it a listen if you're just beginning your path into musical discovery and you'll love it. If you're already well versed in good music, I still believe you'll be able to gain an appreciation from a record as simple and yet lively as this.
Whilst they'll probably falter as a band when they have to release a longer record, the duration of three songs is perfect for this group as it gives them a chance to showcase what they can do without drowning when put out into greater depths.

No. 3 Dowsing - All I Could Find Was You

I love emo music. There's nothing else quite like it.
At its core, it's technically astute and painfully honest.
Perhaps it draws so much unwarranted criticism from misinformed people because they struggle to display any array of complex emotion themselves and are just here to make up numbers on Planet Earth.
It's clever, thought provoking, really well put together and above all emotional when done right, and it is done right on All I Could Find Was You.

Dowsing keep it short and to the point here and it's never sounded better.
Each track tells a story, and the lyricism and accompanying melancholy melodies makes for an almost movie like scene being painted in my mind when I shut off all else and listen to this record.

They're one of the bands where lyrically, take what you will from what they're saying. This isn't Sound of Guns, there's meaning within meanings and how you interpret and receive the song is what you as an individual make of it.

One need only look at first track 'Driving' for evidence of this. On the surface it could be a song about a roadtrip.
If one were to look below the tip of the iceberg there's much more that could be going on.

'I'm taking shifts, switching lanes just to keep up

No signs of life until the sun penetrates through windshield vapors
Touch the glass and disintegrate'
Now, I could annotate this for you and show you what I think it means, or I could leave you to build your own impression of what Dowsing are trying to say, that's the beauty of emo music, it helps you utilize your own emotions whilst listening to others.

There is so much nostalgia for youth in this record as well as a penchant for a time that is long gone but still lingers fondly in memories.
Perhaps the instrumental breakdowns between verses of lyrics that are a signature of the band are to convey this separation between the past and the so-so present.

It's heart achingly personal, yet so relatable in content is All I Could Find Was You that anyone with the relevant capacity can relive their angsty teenage years vicariously through this record.
It definitely speaks to me. But as we've earlier deciphered by the prejudice many people have towards emo, it may not be for everyone. It's definitely not for those not in touch with their emotions.

I think above all this record shows that there's a beauty in the fact that those memories we hold dear from a time long passed, will never be recreated or duplicated. We can only hold onto them for what they were.
By the time, last tracks 'Maxwell' and the ironically named 'Joking/Laughing' come around, this record has done it again for me and has pulled me abruptly back from the stage of angst and confusion that has been sung about into the oh-so so-so present. Man, nostalgia is some feeling.

No.2 Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself

Walking the line somewhere between GOAT and a mere parody is swedish singer song-writer Jens Lekman.
Jens comes across as a charming gentleman with a love of witty retort and lyrics that leave you wondering whether or not this is a clever spoof of conventional folk and singer/songwriting music or an unintentional re-writing of the rule book.

It's hard to write about Jens Lekman without being dumbstruck by how one artist can flip-flop back and forth between sincerity and joking around as often and as concisely as he does so.
Despite not possessing English as a mother-tongue, Jens has an almost unparalleled use of the language in his music, where he uses many clever metaphors, personifications and similes so flippantly.

I truly believe if Jens retained his sincerity which can be heard on tracks such as A Promise full-time, he'd be the unmatched top singer-songwriter today.
However, it seems as if he's adamant to match the beautiful melancholy he is capable of displaying with a class joker mentality for making witty one-liners which somewhat takes away from the seriousness of his music yet adds to the oozing personality of his records.

There are beautiful arrangements in his music, borrowing from a wide array of influences with jazz, reggae, country and even latin music being incorporated in inspired and unique ways.
Jens is almost schizophrenic in the amount of emotions and styles his music displays. Whilst title track An Argument with Myself is an amusing tale of one mans journey through a regular day in his life whilst questioning himself, which oddly reminds me of Barry Manilows Copa-cabana in an instrumental sense, A Promise is an outpouring of genuine emotions.

Every thing he creates however is laced with his great personality and is bleeding with character. No one could accuse Jens of being another run of the mill singer songwriter.
His voice is different, his lyrics are different, his whole style is rather unconventional yet it comes together so effortlessly and synchronised.

There are times where his lighter, jokey material makes me want to grab him and give him a good shake, knowing how much potential he possesses it's at times frustrating to see him squander it on trying too hard to be funny, there are other times where those exact same songs bring a smile to my face as his expert imagery takes you through another crazy chapter in his life.
He's the type of guy that could pick up the ball and run with it if you gave him a sitcom or a serious drama to play with. His versatility knows no bounds.
It's this versitility which should make him marketable to many different audiences and it surprises me greatly that although he caters for many different tastes, he's not discussed much if at all on this forum and across the internet.

An Argument with Myself showcases the full range of what he can produce, and it whets the appetite for the album "I Know What Love Isn't" which came out earlier this year. I'll close by saying that we'll be hearing a lot more about that one a little bit down the line.

No.1 Burial - Street Halo

Believe the hype.

Ever since Burial emerged in 2006 with his self-titled LP, he has taken the musical world by storm. He's an artist that has managed to gauge an interest in the darker side of electronic music like no other.
And he just keeps getting better and better at it.

No other artist manages to create the dark atmosphere as well as Burial does. Imagine walking home alone on a dark rainy night through a concrete jungle of dingy alleyways, flickering streetlights, graffiti stained underpasses and the only things stirring are your footsteps in puddles and the ever looming prospect that you're not alone out there.

There is nothing more daunting than putting yourself into this situation whilst listening to Street Halo. Burial manages to create one of the grittiest, shadowy sounds I've ever heard. It's music inspired by the claustrophobic nature of inner city life displayed in such a telling and real manner that you genuinely are put in the shoes that Burial wants you in.

As in individual, he tends to stay away from the spotlight and let his music do the talking. And it does. It creates this whole illusion of isolation and murky lonesomeness that is gripping to listen to.

Never before has an atmosphere been more vividly put together through the medium of music. The inescapable darkness that surrounds Burials music is a masterclass in how to tell a story without saying one word.
The vocals as always do not take away from the atmospheric noises being built up but add to the experience as on NYC, a voice in the night repeats 'No Body Loves Me' along with other chilling messages.

So eloquently layered and so incredibly well sculpted, every beat of the drum, every nuance plays a role of significance. Everything is there for a reason, this is minimalism at its finest. There are no unnecessary or wasted motions that usually swamp down electro music. Everything serves purpose, every little note holds significance.

Although the music is so dark in nature, it invites the listener into the gritty underground world with ease. I find myself returning to Burials music every week, and after every listen I leave amazed by how fu.cking awesome it is.
No words can truly do his work justice, it needs to be experienced to be understood.

It's dark outside at the moment, I might chuck on a hoody, go out and listen to this EP and just watch as visual and audio align perfectly right around me.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Another brilliantly written piece, MC. The fact that you don't use YTs to showcase the music you're talking about makes it all the more important that you write well and describe it well, and you always do. There is, in fact, no need for videos: your excellent descriptions paint a better picture almost than a video could. Like you say, make your own mind up and decide what the music means to you.

On the subject of EPs, which I almost never buy, the one thing that annoys me about them is that if you wait a little while, nine times out of ten you will end up getting those same tracks on the new album. Some bands, admittedly, don't do that --- Porcupine Tree spring to mind --- but for most as you say it's just an excuse to air new material early, and that material will later be included on the album, so why not just wait?

You paint one hell of a picture with that guy Burial's music. I doubt I'd be into it, but it sounds damn interesting. Not something I'd prefer to play when going out walking at night, not that I get to do that much --- was never that fond of the night anyway.

Oh, and really touching to see your permanent tribute to Howard/Patrick/Il Duce, may he rest in peace. Such a loss, and I think most of us feel the same way.

One final pedant/grammar Nazi shot: compulsed isn't a word, but compelled is. You can have a compulsion to do something, which means you're compelled to do it. Just in case you were wondering...
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot Trollheart. It's pretty cool to think that there are actually people reading what I have to say, and it's always good to receive feedback.

Admittingly, I don't think any of the artists I listed above perhaps with the exception of Sound of Guns would be guilty of re-releasing EP material on a full record, but I totally agree that it is frustrating when an artist decides to do so.

I would say Burial doesn't exactly fit the mould of the music you usually review in your Journal, but I'm sure everything's worth a shot once.

I was a little sceptical about using that term, perhaps I should add it to the Urban Dictionary and hope people get behind it. It may yet gain recognition from those involved with the upkeep and modernisation of our language.

Will be updating either tonight or tomorrow dependent on work patterns with albums 20 and 19 of my 2011 list.


Last edited by 14232949; 12-01-2012 at 09:09 PM.
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