A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

This (& last) week’s new music

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Thursday June 10, 2010

I’ve been wishing I had some more time to write here. It’s been incredibly fun so far, and really allowed me another outlet for my musical addiction. Alas, I do not make any money doing it. In fact, I definitely lose money — between tickets, t-shirts, albums and trips to Montreal, I’ve been spending what one might consider a ridiculous amount of money. So the job takes precedent when things get busy, and I’m stuck posting two weeks worth of music purchases instead of something more interesting to me. Soon enough…

Last week, I picked up Summer House from Gold Motel (a recommendation from Aaron, who was kind enough to post here last week), Treats from Sleigh Bells, and Doug Keith’s The Lucky Ones. I continue to distrust people with two first names, but if you’re into singer/songwriters (aka man-and-his-guitar), his album is worth a listen.

The Gold Motel album is a tasty pop treat – catchy and crisp and calling for a drive to the beach. Lead singer Greta Morgan has an impressive vocal range, and goes from sweet to syrupy with ease. As for Treats, the Sleigh Bells release, I’m actually quite speechless. It’s sincerely a natural amphetamine, and deserves a good week’s worth of heavy rotation before I can fully wrap my head around it. If you’re in the mood for something to share the room with and need a pick-me-up, get it. Might want to warn your neighbors before putting it on though, as it’s best experienced LOUD.

This week, I bought Champ from Tokyo Police Club and Before Today from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Champ is an an interesting take on Tokyo Police Club’s unique sound. It’s definitely a bit more refined, but I do find myself missing the edge of songs like Citizens of Tomorrow from their 2006 EP A Lesson in Crime. I suppose bands have the right to grow up too, though, and I plan on spending some more time with Champ summer.

Gold Motel - Summer House Sleigh Bells - Treats Doug Keith - The Lucky Ones Tokyo Police Club - Champ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

p.s. I’m skipping tonight’s Sharon Jones show on the waterfront in Burlington. Seems sacrilegious, but I’ve got a few excuses.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Old Music: Neil Young’s “On The Beach” (1974) is an album for our times

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Guest Post, Old Music
Written by Aaron
Friday June 4, 2010

Ed. Note: Brendan asked me to fill in for a few a few days. I’m happy to oblige.

Neil Young promo photo for On The Beach

Promotional photo for On The Beach.

With summer approaching and oil gushing from the sea floor, I’ve been thinking this week about a classic record.  Neil Young’s dark, introspective On The Beach is a reminder that things can get messy.

Darkness abounds.  In “Vampire Blues,” Young sings about the thirsty oil industry.  Organs back his slow, hopeless romp.  The words are prescient given our current catastrophe:

I’m a vampire, babe, suckin’ blood from the earth …
Well, I’m a vampire, babe, I’ll sell you twenty barrels worth…
I’m a black bat, babe, I need my high octane…
Good times are comin’, I hear it everywhere I go.
Good times are comin’, but they sure are comin’ slow.

Have a listen:

In spite of the doom and gloom, there are plenty of reasons to love this album.

The track you may know best, “Walk On,” kicks off the record with guitars moving from bright to chunky to whiny.  And back again.  It’s a pleasant-sounding recollection of good times with good friends.  But the good times don’t last.  Some friendships crumble and our protagonist sings that, “sooner or later it all gets real.”  He looks back fondly but he knows when it’s time to move along.

The messy, sad beauty continues in other songs.  “Revolution Blues” follows a paranoid militiaman or perhaps a cult leader.  “For The Turnstiles” ends with the image of perpetually unsuccessful baseball players.

Neil Young, On The Beach, Front cover photo.But summer brings an escape.  In the album’s title song, Young reminds his audience that road trips can solve problems:

Get out of town, think I’ll get out of town. I head for the sticks with my bus and friends, I follow the road, though I don’t know where it ends. Get out of town, get out of town, think I’ll get out of town. ‘Cause the world is turnin’, I don’t want to see it turn away.

On The Beach is a beautiful record — recalling the politics and paranoia of a not-much-simpler era.  It’s a solid classic for your collection.

It’s worth noting that this was a tough album to find a few years back.  On The Beach and a few other Young records fell prey to the artist’s distrust of compact discs’ audio quality.  An online campaign a decade ago called “Release On The Beach” sought to change that.  You could illicitly download a set of scratchy MP3s from that early petition site (and I did).  In 2003, On The Beach was among the first batch of Young’s older albums remastered to CD (and I was eager to buy it).

Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.