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Old 10-25-2013, 12:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I recommend you take this concept one step further: Pre-review an album that hasn't even been released yet, and then when it gets released, see how right/wrong you were!

So this way you not only have to guess what the songs will sound like, you also have to guess what songs are even on the album!
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveYourCarDownToTheSea View Post
I recommend you take this concept one step further: Pre-review an album that hasn't even been released yet, and then when it gets released, see how right/wrong you were!

So this way you not only have to guess what the songs will sound like, you also have to guess what songs are even on the album!
I'm on my way!!
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:26 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeddnoief View Post
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Seriously? Can you guys get this shit out of my journal? Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2013, 05:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I like this idea very much, and I really hope it will work!
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Old 12-21-2013, 09:23 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I can see the fun in this, Trollheart - in fact it reminds me uncomfortably of how I bought some albums in the bad old days before the internet; browsing through albums, trying to work out from the cover and the tracklist what the music was like.

That Heather Maloney one would´ve gone back in the rack, tbh, as too girly. But as Shakespeare reminds us,"There´s no art to tell the mind´s construction in the face". In fact, in one of his plays he specifically mentions LP sleeves - I´ll get back to you when I find the quotation.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Well, the album I wanted to take for my second “psychic review” refuses to be found. Truth to tell, I have no idea what it was. I vaguely remember a cover that may have been orange or possibly a sunset-type thing that grabbed me, but that's it. I do remember it catching my attention. But since I've searched for it now without success for two days I think my failure plus the extremely sketchy details I have on it have to lead me to conclude I'm not going to find it.

However, in my search I did come across this, so I'm going to go with it as my second choice.

Things don't sparkle like they used to --- Stumbleine --- 2013

So, once again, who are Stumbeleine? Dunno. My attempts to find out brought me to a page on “Mellon Collie and the infinite sadness” by those lads who like destroying fruit, and although this band has both a Facebook and Bandcamp page, there is precisely no information on them on either. Honestly, how do these bands ever expect to achieve fame if nobody but their fans know who they are??

I can't even tell you if this is their debut (though going from the information on their Bandcamp page at least I think not, but of course I could be very wrong) or anything about it. They're listed as everything from dream pop to emo and shoegaze to, uh, alternative. So your guess is as good as mine. Unless you know them. I doubt they're signed to any label, as they're offering their music as a digital download off their Bandcamp page, so this looks to be a self-produced and financed affair.

Before we get into individual tracks, I'd just like to point out that I have very little experience with shoegaze or dream pop. I've only rather recently listened to Slowdive, who I am told sort of typify the genre, and that's pretty much as far as I've gone, to my knowledge. Acting on my laughably patchy grasp of this kind of music I'm going to take a general guess and say that I expect mostly slowish, acoustic or acoustic-sounding music with guitar and piano, maybe the odd other instrument like violin or harmonica. I'm not expecting any blazing guitar solos, pumping keyboard arpeggios nor any saxophones or trumpets. Of course, for all I know, Stumbeleine could be famous or at least known for their saxophone and trumpet prowess. It's all a gamble. But I think not.

So then, tracks. Well there are only six, most if not all around the three minute mark, with the longest hitting almost four, so really I suppose this should be considered more an EP than an album. But we'll see what develops. As I say, I know nothing of the band so can't tell you who's singing, playing guitar (if there is a guitar) drumming (if there are drums) or who wrote the songs. Even more so than the first time, this is really going to be a case of going in blind for me. So let's see what we got, huh?

1. Nicotina: Okay well first I prophesy that this will be a play on words, using a girl called Tina who perhaps is addicted to something or addicitve like something (love? Sex? Drugs?) and a sort of warning against getting involved with her. Sort of a latter-day “Runaround Sue”, or a thousand songs written in that vein since. Could also be a "you're-more-addictive-than-nicotine-I-can't-give-you-up" idea. I think it will be relatively uptempo, mostly on boppy piano with some guitar, maybe pulling in elements from Plain White Tee's “Hey Delilah” (though probably not) and will end on an extended piano passage, sort of honky-tonk. Yeah.

2. Lon lon: This presents me with a problem as I have no idea what Lon Lon is, or is supposed to be or to refer to. I really have no idea what this is going to be about, but I'll take a stab at another relatively uptempo song, this time on guitar with maybe tambourine and castanets? I am lost here; there's nothing at all to work with. Expect the reverse of a perfect score here.

3. I wanna dance with somebody: I'm going to take a chance here and say this is actually a cover of the Whitney song, but probably played downtempo on bassy piano and acoustic guitar, add in some violins and maybe the odd horn or two, but very downbeat.

4. Silhouette: Slow, acoustic number on guitar with a lot of bass. About someone losing themselves in a love affair until all that's left is their shadow. Hey, what do you want from me ? It could be a cover of Deacon Blue's song, but I doubt they'd do two covers, assuming the preceding track was one. Feel this may have a female vocal, if they even have a female in the band. Note: if the band is all female or at least female-fronted I win here. Look, they're my rules ok? If you don't like it you know what you can do! Hey! Where are you going?

5. Polka dots: Fast, upbeat piano song with perhaps electric guitar, very happy in tone and very commercial. About? I have no idea. Could be the singer catching sight of a girl in a polka dot dress and obsessing over her, even though he has no idea who she is and will probably never meet her. Yeah, we'll go with that, why not?

6. Hold on: Gotta assume this is a big ballad, with strings and perhaps orchestra. Passionate, soulful and heart-rending, the advice to hold on and not give up on a love affair. Gotta be violins in here. And cellos. Cellos and violins. Definitely. Or at least violins. But hopefully cellos too. I like cellos. Big closing number, fades out at the end with a chorus you would kill for if you were a songwriter.

So that's what I think, given that I know nothing about this band and have never heard any of their songs. Hell, I don't even know if they are a band: maybe it's one guy. Or girl. Or blue furry thing from Aldebaran VI! But as I said in the first post, this is not about me being right, in fact I'd be more than amazed if I even get ten percent of this correct. It's not even about me being an idiot (though I am) in trying to do this. It's my way of pulling away from my sometimes over-serious other journals and trying to let my hair down (metaphorically! Metaphorically! I KNOW I have very little hair, you don't need to keep reminding me!) and untwist my knickers and just laugh at myself, as I'm sure you all are already laughing at me, probably behind my back you shower of....

Anyway, back to the album. Or EP. Or whatever it is. Let's go play it and then I'll be back to let you know how I did. Sorry, how badly I did.
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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So, second time lucky? Oh you wish! So do I, but here's what happened....

1. Nicotina: Well, I hear what sounds like a female vocal, which will help with track 4, but is this boppy and uptempo? Can't really say, and the main instrument does appear to be piano with some sort of xylophone playing, but as for lyrical content I can't say as I can't really make out any words other than a sort of bit of vocalise which appears to be the only lyric really. Bit sort of ambient if I'm honest. Here comes the end then. No, couldn't call that an extended piano passage in any man's language.


2. Lon lon:
Had no idea what to expect with this, but it appears to be a sort of carryon of the musical idea from the opener. Very similar; kind of echoing piano and guitar, or maybe synth, hard-hammered chords, almost like what you'd expect to break into a fast trance track though it doesn't seem to. Again no real vocals. Not looking good for track three then!

3. I wanna dance with somebody: Bloody Hell! I was right! It is the Whitney song AND it's played --- so far --- slow and downtempo. Woo-hoo! Not so much of the acoustic guitar; it all seems to be on synth but the vocal is female so one more point for me I hope when the next track hits. Best performance so far. Meh, not such a big deal: anyone could have guessed this I suppose but hell, I'll take any little victory I can get!

4. Silhouette: Well there's the female vocal (yay me!) but is it slow? Sort of. Acoustic? No. This band seems to be pretty much driven on synth passages with handclap drums and tape loops, and again we have no real vocal, so the lyrical part is superfluous and I don't get points for that. Boo.

5. Polka dot: Think I know what to expect by now. Bring on the eighties-style synths! Yeah well it's uptempo so I get that much anyway, but not really what I'd call fast. Seems to be a male vocal this time, such as it is, still no real lyrics. Guess this is what they call shoegaze? Encountered this a little with My Bloody Valentine, and was not impressed by it. This ain't too bad though. Kind of more mid-tempo than upbeat really. Sigh.

6. Hold on: Oh how wrong I expect to be here! Oh look! There's a guitar! And vocals! Nice echoey piano too. Not really expecting too many violins here, and I think some other band booked the orchestra, but this is nice. Back to the female vocal, and the lyric does say “You gotta hold on”, so I think I get that one. Maybe. Don't see a big, stirring finish on the horizon though. Don't think this band does big, stirring finishes ... and I'm right. It just stops.

Well that was fun! Completely different to what I had expected but pleasant enough. Would never have guessed at the band playing that sort of music, and most of my attempts to figure out what this album would sound like have turned out, not surprisingly, to be wrong. Back tomorrow with the final scores.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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And so, the result, or as I like to call it, the score of shame...

1. Nicotina:
Main instrument: 20%
Tempo: 30%
Subject: 0% (Kind of hard to get this right when there are no real discernible lyrics!)
Specifics: 0%
TOTAL: 50%

2. Lon lon
Main instrument: 0%
Tempo: 0%
Subject: 0%
Specifics: 0%
TOTAL: 0%

3. I wanna dance with somebody
Main instrument: 20%
Tempo: 30%
Subject: n/a as it's a cover
Specifics: 0%
TOTAL: 50%

4. Silhouette
Main instrument: 20%
Tempo: 30%
Subject: 0%
Specifics: 30%
TOTAL: 80%

5. Polka dot
Main instrument: 20%
Tempo: 30%
Subject: 0%
Specifics: 0%
TOTAL: 50%

6. Hold on
Main instrument: 0%
Tempo: 30%
Subject: 20%
Specifics: 0%
TOTAL: 50%

Making a final total then of 280 divide by 6 = 46% approx! An improvement of 300% on the previous one! Of course, there are less tracks but then again the overall score is higher, so not a bad second effort.

Shoegaze? Is it for me? Dunno really. This was pleasant enough but like MBV would I want to listen to ten or fifteen tracks of it? I kind of got the impression this band is not signed, and as is often the case with such bands there is very little information I could glean about them, despite their having a Soundcloud, Facebook and Bandcamp page. Why don't these people take the time to write a quick bio? Oh, and in my after-research I found out they have two albums previous to this, so as they say, this ain't their first rodeo.

Will it be my last, with them? Hard to say really but it hasn't quite endeared this sort of music to me, though on the other side of the coin it hasn't made me swear off it altogether. Cool name for an album, if nothing else!

So then, Powerstars, Briks and anyone else who wants to try copying my ideas: that's how it's done properly!

(Legal notice: Anyone trying to copy Trollheart's ideas will leave themselves open to litigation)
Until we meet again,
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:51 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Ah yes, dredging out all the old journals and shaking them in the air, giving them a good spring clean! Well, it is April after all. Gotta get those mothballs out. In the course of looking for a new album --- or any album --- to serve as my third venture into the world of (pretty much failed) musical prediction, I looked at a few. One ended up being an EP by an instrumental postrock band, so that wouldn't do at all. It's hard enough trying to guess what songs will be like without attempting to work out what kind of music a band will play! So that one ended up in “Bitesize”, or will, depending on when I post this.

Another interesting one, which I felt would really challenge me and push my limits, was one by a foreign artiste --- Spanish I think --- but I was up for it. Until I saw that every track was a month of the year! How you gonna work out what “May” will be about, or “September”? Even I'm not that mad. So I passed over that one, and then found myself drawn to this.



Himalayan --- Band of Skulls --- 2014


Now I have heard of this band before, and some of you here are probably very familiar with them, so will no doubt fall off your chairs laughing at my pathetic efforts to unscramble the mystery of what may lie within these tracks, surely getting it so wrong that, were this a game of “Cliffhanger” on the old ITV gameshow “Bruce's Price is Right” (yes, a ripoff of your American show: only older UK and Irish people will really understand what I'm talking about) the little guy would be yodelling his way off the edge and plunging to a sticky end. In other words, I don't feel confident about this at all.

But then, when have I? Who can really predict what a song or songs are going to sound like or be written about without having ever heard them? What kind of lunatic would even try to work out a song's nature based purely on its title? Title now: I don't look up lyrics. And surely only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would put such attempts out in the public domain, for everyone to roll their eyes and laugh at? Well yeah, but that's what this journal has been about from day one, as I explained in the original introduction. I have no hopes whatever that I'll be right even ten percent of the time here: maybe I'll strike lucky on the odd occasion but the odds are against it. But I don't care. It's all about kicking back and not taking things too seriously for once, and being able to laugh at yourself.

Sure if you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at? Yeah, true, that guy, but it's not a very nice thing to do is it?

Anyhoo, on with the show and what I know about Band of Skulls (and I've deliberately read very little, just enough to know I'm not about to leap headfirst over the edge into a pool of death metal or punk or hip-hop) is that they're described as “alternative rock” --- a very vague and catchall, and probably inaccurate more often than not, label --- and that they hail from good old Blighty (that's Britain to you) and are apparently very popular. This is their third album.

Tracks then: what we got? Well we have a dozen, some with very interesting titles that's going to make it even harder for me to guess at what they're about or what they're going to sound like, but hey we'll as ever give it a go: what have I, after all, to lose except the respect of my fellow music fans? Whaddya mean, yiz didn't respect me before I started doing this? Humph! Charming!

1. Asleep at the wheel:
God, could be anything couldn't it? Well it's the opener so let's plump for it not being a ballad, and say it opens with jingly acoustic guitar that then turns into or is joined by electric, getting into a driving beat with uptempo piano (is there a piano or keyboard player in Band of Skulls? I don't know) and sure let's throw in some violin and/or cello somewhere in the song too. And it slows down at the end, fading out on the aforementioned strings. Maybe. What's it about? Man trying to figure out his life, feeling he's asleep at the wheel and letting it all pass him by. Or could be a guy driving a rig who's about to have a serious accident. But let's go for the former.

2. “Himalayan”: Let's be blindingly obvious and say it's built on a sort of chanty, Tibetan style chorus with bongo drums or whatever, chimes and acoustic guitar, a sort of midpaced song about, um, freedom? Yeah, freedom. We'll take the Tibetan motif and plaster it all over the song. No piano on this. Or violins. Maybe cellos. No, no cellos. But some weird, er, ethnic instruments. And chants. Lots of chants.

3. “Hoochie coochie”: Ah I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say it's a cover of the old fifties song. I bet it's not but that's what I'm going for. It's short, so that's a good start. Probably totally wrong but yeah, cover.

4. “Cold sweat”: Would it be very lazy of me to say this is also a cover, of the Thin Lizzy song? Yes. Yes it would. So that's what I'm going to do. Two covers, one following the other, seems unlikely but hey, why not?

5. “Nightmares”: I don't know why but I somehow get the feeling this may be a ballad. Piano, soft guitar, return of the violins and/or cellos (if they were in the first track) and maybe a female vocal guesting? Meh. Probably a headbanging rocker, but I'm going for the ballad. That's it: my foot is down. The deal is done.

6. “Brothers and sisters”: Hope you're all having a good laugh at me, thinking “Jesus! Band of Skulls would never do that kind of music!” I hear this as a gospel-y mid-paced song, handclaps, organ, gospel choir. A “can't we get along” song with plenty of lyric about peace and brotherhood. Or it could be about incest. Yeah, probably incest. But I'm sticking with peace and love (not that kind of love!) in a gospel vein.

7. “I guess I know you fairly well”: Man, I can hear the laughter from here! Shut up, willyaz? I'm trying to concentrate here! This is another ballad, but it's only on piano and acoustic guitar, a song about a breakup. Wow, how original! Yeah well it's what I hear. Also going to go for the possible guest female vocal duetting here.

8. “You are all that I am not”: No no this will not be a ballad (yes it will but I'm not saying it will)! Hard rockin' track with screaming electric guitar, mad keys (if there are keys) and a real headshaker. Do I have to say uptempo? Uptempo. Loud. Fast. Nasty. All of the above expected to be wrong. Oh yeah: lyric. Um. Saracastic I think, sort of you think you're so great but you're just as bad as me. Yeah. Right.

9. “I feel like ten men, nine dead and one dying”: Oh come on! That could be about anything! Er. Another love song but not a ballad. Hard acoustic this time, stabbing keyboards, maybe violins again? Heavy drumbeat. Angry but tired vocal. What's it about? Damned if I know. Um. Another breakup? Left alone to face the world?

10. “Toreador”: Too obvious of course but let's give it a Spanish feel, castanets, Spanish guitar, ole's, the whole bit. Song about a bullfighter. Fast, with a latin beat. Oh I don't know. Release the bull!

11. “Heaven's key”: Well it could be you are the key to Heaven but somehow I don't think there will be that many ballads here, so for no reason at all, except that the title reminds me of the movie “Heaven's Gate”, I'm going to say it will have a cowboy/western feel, acoustic guitar and, um, banjo. Sure why not? And fiddles. Or violins, which are pretty much the same. And a jews harp. And pedal steel, or something. Uptempo with a sort of dramatic feel, almost cinematic in a kind of “The Big Country” way. The film, not the band.

12. “Get yourself together”: Cover of the Supertramp song. Nah, I kid, I kid. Slowish, country-ish, with steel guitar, electric and maybe piano again. Lyric, maybe, sort yourself out before it's too late. Oh how did I possibly get that from the title? Well at least it wasn't ten men dead or whatever!

So there are my guesses, each one surely a turd in its own right. Tomorrow I'll actually listen to the album and see how many I got wrong, and how wrong I was. Stay tuned for another installment in “Trollheart gets taken down a peg. A whole peg!”

(Band of Skulls? I must be out of my skull!)
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:16 AM   #20 (permalink)
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So, how badly did I embarrass myself this time? Let's see....

1. “Asleep at the wheel”: Well it's uptempo with guitar, but that's about all I got. No piano or acoustic guitar and definitely no violins! Or cellos. Distinct lack of cellos, or any string instrument that isn't a guitar. Driving beat, yes, but very guitar-centric. Think I got the theme for the lyric right, but I'm not positive. A reasonable fail with one or two points scored for me.

2. “Himalayan”: Oh dear! Well off the mark there (as if I didn't expect to be!) --- where are the Tibetan chants? The bongos? Wot no chimes? I heard the word free there, but I don't think I'm going to be able to claim I guessed the idea behind the title correctly, oh no. Never a monk around when you need one...

3. Hoochie coochie: It sort of would have been a good idea had I been familiar with the old song before claiming this would be a cover. I'm not. So I don't know if this is a cover, but I sort of don't think so. Let me run up YouTube and... well knock me down with an E-string! There IS no song called “Hoochie coochie”! Only “Hoochie coochie man” by Muddy Waters, and it sure ain't that...

4. Cold sweat: And that's certainly not Lizzy! A slow bluesy ballad. Oh, Trollheart, you lazy devil! Wrong again!

5. Nightmares: Now that I see “Cold sweat” is a ballad it's unlikely this will be, but... what do you know? It's not. Struck out again. Sort of midpaced rocker with more guitar to the fore. Sigh. Still, I really like the track; first one on the album that has grabbed me. Actually the previous one was good too, if I'm totally honest and fair.

6. Brothers and sisters: Surely this will be the worst guess of all, the most off the beam? Well it has a kind of funky vibe, but then I said gospel, didn't I? This ain't gospel. But the subject matter is close enough to what I said, not that it would have been that hard to guess from the title! I think I hear organ. But no choir. God does not love me.

7. “I guess I know you fairly well”: The exact opposite of which could apply to me and this album. Hmm. Is this a ballad? I think I may claim this one. No piano that I can hear but acoustic guitar, though it's a bit more in the style of RHCP's “Under the bridge” --- until it kicks up on harder guitar and no, I don't think in fairness I can call this a ballad. Boo. No guest female vocal either. Heading for my biggest defeat to date at this point.

8. “You are all I am not”: One hundred percent wrong on this! Bluesy ballad (I sarcastically predicted it would be, but only because I said it would not be, so that don't count). Got everything wrong about this. Lyric? Hmm. No, wrong there too: it's a honest, earnest title, more comforting than mocking.

9. “I feel like ten men, nine dead and one dying”: Oh yeah this will be fun. For the record, the previous was my favourite on the album despite the fact I got it so totally wrong. And here too, I miss the mark so widely it's as if the target is on another planet. A hard rocker with screaming guitar, as I incorrectly predicted the previous one would be. Driving drumbeat yes but I don't think you can call this a love song by any stretch of the imagination.

10. “Toreador”: Ooh! This one could be a home run! I hear the story of a bullfighter and Spanish guitar. Fast, certainly. Can you call that a latin beat? I think that might be stretching it. No castanets, sadly. Still, my best showing on this album so far. Which is not saying much.

11. “Heaven's key”: Not for me, it would seem. No cowboys. No jews harps. Or fiddles. Not even a steel guitar. Shoot. Tarnation. Done got it wrong again, pilgrim. And any other inappropriate western cliches I can think of. Bugger. Stupid, pointless guess anyway. Ah sure what else was I gonna say huh?

12. “Get yourself together”: Slowish but hardly country. More like folk if anything. No steel guitar. Sigh. Wrong again. Lyric? Close enough I guess, though again it was hardly too much of a stretch to reach that conclusion. Song kind of reminds me of Bread, weirdly. Really like this.

So, a pretty poor performance all round then. From me, not the album. Oh well: it's not like I didn't expect it. Scores tomorrow.
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