Monday, April 30, 2012

My Bloody Valentine Reissue Their Entire Catalog

To those of us who lived through the early 1990s and know the scene from whence My Bloody Valentine came from, this is a bit of a laugh. It's not like this is not a welcome "comeback." It's just that MBV were a joke, and I don't think people realize exactly why they were a joke.

I already own their "original" catalog so I doubt very much whether or not I will go out and acquire the early material. I don't know what Shields could do to "improve" Loveless since it was a famously fussed with record to begin with. I would think that putting out live material would be of interest, but I don't know if they are going to go that route just yet.

MBV's second album was a ridiculous and indulgent affair that essentially bankrupted Creation Records. If that money had been spent pushing other artists, Creation might have survived as a major label, but perhaps not. The third album was largely considered the work of a demented Kevin Shields who had a hard time figuring out where to put the microphones in front of the tilted amps. The rest of MBV were along for that ride, and I don't doubt that they are a little relieved that their work is coming out.

What's funny is that the NME forgot that Shields was in Primal Scream years ago, relegated to strumming the guitar and staying out of the way.

Anyway, bless that mess. I hope the kids buy it in droves and find it interesting.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Morrissey I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris Covers

There are so many things to admire about this set and how it was designed.

Morrissey's approach to putting out music is exceptionally well rooted in all of the things that go with being a modern artist in the music world. His choice of songs and presentation are without equal. His style is uniquely his own and there is nothing derivative about what he chooses to do. His care with how his music gets out has survived the demise of the record industry. He is a consistently engaged and evolving artist. And when he puts something out, it is not junk. It is not filler. He will identify such things to his fans and ask them not to partake of anything that isn't up to his high standards.

This package is typical of a Morrissey release. Great song, great B-side, and a photo of his band to boot. What more could you want?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Children Do Not Like Radiohead

This is not a knock against Radiohead, so please don't read it that way.

I have some very unscientific observations about children and music. And, one of the things that I have noticed is that you cannot entertain the children with Radiohead. There is just something about the construction of the songs, the dissonance, and the use of distortion, along with the emphasis on having drum patterns without whole notes, that does not please the children.

There are three bands that always seem to entertain the children. And this is in no specific order.

1. Lush

I can play almost any Lush song, and the children love it. Whenever 500 (Shake Baby Shake) comes on, they go crazy.

2. The Mock Turtles

Still can't figure this out. The Mock Turtles were a short-lived band from Manchester. And Then She Smiles is a huge, huge hit in this neck of the woods.

3. James

If you play James for your kids, you'll probably have to figure out how to acquire their back catalog and keep them happy. Sunday Morning and Ya Ho and Sit Down seem to rock the house.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hope You Didn't Get Suckered Into Thinking These Shows Would Happen

Sinead O'Connor has been unwell for most of the last twenty years. If anyone believed that she was suddenly going to get off drugs--and that is what she has a problem with--and start acting like a responsible artist, then I hope they can get a refund for these shows.

There are a handful of artists that you can almost guarantee are not going to finish a show or a tour. If Sly Stone, Kings of Leon, and Sinead O'Connor were to get on a bill with Guns and Roses and a reformed version of Oasis, I would not expect anyone to get any kind of a refund, just out of principle.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Replacements Tim Covers

There are some that would call Tim the apex of the career of the band called The Replacements. It was the end of the Bob Stinson era and the beginning of the corporate sell-out era, but the drinking and the shenanigans would continue well on through to the end. The songs would never be as good.

The real crowning glory of The Replacements is found on two of the cuts contained on this album. Bastards of Young and Here Comes a Regular are two sides of the same broken heart, and you could build the quintessential novel of the Eighties around those two songs, weaving them in and out. There are brilliant songs scattered throughout their career, but these two are the two best songs they ever did.

I have never been able to figure out the cover, though. It has an industrial feel to it, with the band portraits designed to make them indie darlings. I have no idea whether to join in with the criticism of Robert Longo or adopt a wait-and-see approach. At some point, I guess it will make sense.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pawn Shop Guitars

I can't help but laugh at how ridiculous this case has been.

First, you have the inflated value of guitars revealed here. And, make no mistake about it--the inflated value of "vintage" guitars is a sham and a bubble that will burst and ruin a lot of people. These instruments may have been "precious" because of the sentimental value attached to them but they were not worth $100,000.

Second, you have the idiot who stole the guitars. One human being cannot walk out of a building carrying five guitar cases. Who helped him? Did he make multiple trips?

Third, you have the fact that this was done at a facility where there were no cameras, no security personnel, nothing. Was it an inside job?

It's a shame that the fellow who pawned one of the instruments got as much as $250. It would have been a better story if he had gotten just $25 for Petty's 1967 Rickenbacker 12-string. I would have laughed all day at that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God Save the Queen to be Rereleased

The difference between now and then is the fact that it is virtually impossible to shock people know. In Britain, there was genuine shock and outrage at the Sex Pistols. Now? A jaded people see the antics of the young people and don't even bat an eye.

I would expect that this will be met with polite applause and indifference, especially since the original would need Autotune in order to make it in the modern marketplace.

UPDATE: Lydon wants no part of the rerelease and is focusing on new music with PiL.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tom Petty is Nuts

I can't tell if Tom Petty is merely nuts or just a sentimental old fool.

Number one, you got your gear stolen because of the idiots running that studio. There should have been closed-circuit monitoring of the facility. You would have gotten your gear back by now if there was. So, it stands to reason someone working at the facility grabbed the gear.

Number two, the police don't care. Unless they are vintage instrument buffs, they aren't going to work in shifts to solve this case. No CC-TV? No chance.

Number three, the vintage instrument myth is alive and well. Someone is going to pay top dollar for these instruments on the vintage instrument black market and end up with an old guitar that they can only play in the privacy of their own home. Aside from being weird, who really thinks that an aged, broken-in piece of wood with strings on it is all that special?


They have done tests on the violins made by Stradivarius, for example. Those tests revealed that vintage violins are no different in sound or performance than newer ones. And so, what you have, is a myth that surrounds these old instruments. Petty could take half of his money and go out and buy new instruments all around and, once fitted with adequate pickups and amplification, would sound the same. There is no special timbre or resonance from a vintage electric guitar. That's just what those clowns running music stores want you to think.

Petty must be sentimental; perhaps he thinks that his vintage guitars are worth saving from the black market. I commend him for that. But this whole thing about vintage instruments is one of the biggest bullshit stories that has survived into modern times.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This single broke Oasis wide open, and helped vault their debut album into the stratosphere. Live Forever is more than the sum of Britpop, but it rose above the genre and defined the Oasis phenomenon. Every subsequent single rode this wave of optimism in the face of bullshit, lies, and blank stares.

The sleeve features the childhood home of John Lennon, and it is one of those fantastic collaborations between Microdot and Michael Spencer Jones.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Primal Scream Jailbird Remixes Covers

One of the great survivors of the Britpop era are Primal Scream; in fact, they are probably a band that never should have survived their first record, much less the ill-fated Britpop era (which was phony as hell and made up, but still).

This single featured five remixes; in the 1990s, the remix was very popular, and artists made their reputation on them. Primal Scream was no exception; these are massive remixes, and not just the version done by the Dust Brothers.

Jailbird is a killer track. It will blow you off your feet if you're not ready for the riff. How many songs can you say that about?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oasis Supersonic EP Covers

This is one of the greatest singles of the 1990s, and it landed with a roar. It helped break Oasis almost instantly as one of the biggest bands in the world. It certainly conquered England.

There are several elements at work here. First, you have the wonderful design of Brian Cannon and the enormously important photography of Michael Spencer Jones. This combination is deserving of a major scholarly work, detailing their efforts to bring music to the masses through art and concepts. Second, you have a photo with and without the band, giving the fan a chance to peek in through the window and see the creative process at work. Their instruments are cast around the room, wires run everywhere, and the door is opened to the drum room. Beyond that, you see the gloom and the rain outside. Third, you have the added attraction of rare and live tracks with a solid B-side to get people interested in what's on the single.

Easily one of my favorites. It shows a young band just starting out, just before making it huge. Does it matter if this was staged, if this was an aborted recording session, or if anything was actually recorded here? No, because it gives the perfect illusion of a beginning, and of a process, and of a snapshot in time that will never be captured again.

Snow Patrol Up to Now Covers and CDs

Let's hear it for minimalism!

This greatest hits package from Snow Patrol has a lot going for it, even though it is about as minimalistic as can be.

The cover is very simple and basic. If you can't tell that the mechanically-rendered snowflake represents the band, then you're having issues that cannot be resolved through purchasing a greatest hits package.

The real selling point is the back cover, and here's how that works. When you prominently display the tracks that are available, you immediately understand a couple of things about this package. First, it's a two CD set. Whatever the price is, you have a great opportunity to get your money's worth. Second, the tracks are arranged so that they can be read. That may seem like a no-brainer, but, really--it's not. Third, there's an opportunity to get rare tracks or versions with this package because the parentheses that follow several of the included tracks spell that much out for the purchaser.

This is a good way to sell music. How this works as a download would, again, have to emphasize the value and the fact that you're getting thirty tracks spread over two CDs.

Black Grape Reverend Black Grape Single Cover

Garish beyond all hope, this isn't spectacularly awful, it's just the collision of what the band and the song are about.

Black Grape was the influential group headed by Shaun Ryder after the breakup of The Happy Mondays. Trippy, dense, and danceable, this single couldn't possibly be plain or simple.