Archive for the Music Category

Fishmans (Music Review by Colin Allen)

Posted in Music on June 5, 2018 by Mr. Winch

Image result for fishmans long season

98.12.28 男達の別れ (Otokotachi no Wakare) is the third live album, final overall album, and final live performance by Japanese dream pop/dub band Fishmans. It was performed and recorded on December 28, 1998, and released on September 29, 1999 (Sharifi).

Image result for fishmans long season

This is the last performance Fishmans ever undertook before their enigmatic singer and frontman Shinji Sato tragically died of heart problems he suffered from since birth. 98.12.28 男達の別れ is more than just an album. It’s a eulogy. It’s a love letter. It’s a retrospective. It’s a funeral. It’s a wedding. It’s oh-so-very bittersweet. It’s absolutely perfect. Fishmans had a habit of having live performances that were monumentally better than their already amazing studio recordings. They’d make their songs longer and more expansive, becoming dancier or dreamier or more beautiful in the process. 男達の別れ is no different, and in fact expands upon every single thing that made Fishmans amazing in the first place. It’s a journey through the Fishmans discography, and shows their evolution from a traditional dub/reggae sound, to alternative rock, to dream pop and experimental rock. It’s like a journey through space and time, visiting every single planet along the way, visiting all the weird little aliens and their different quirks and weird music.

Related image

The entire album is amazing, but there’s one piece that just absolutely blows literally every single piece of music ever composed out of the water. It is Long Season. Long Season is the sixth studio album by Fishmans, but it is composed of one, 35 minute song. The studio version is absolutely amazing, but on 男達の別れ, Long Season just becomes completely transcendent. It is extended to 41 minutes, and god, there’s just absolutely no way to describe how completely amazing this song is. Long Season is just so very beautiful, it’s the best song ever made, and I say that as a fact. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a song. It’s impossible to do it justice in a writing format; through one’s own ears is the only way to truly experience Long Season. It’s so good I can barely write about it. It makes me feel more than human emotion. The song surrounds oneself with absolute euphoria, as if the universe was closing in to a warm, tight embrace. It’s a hug from the mother universe, telling you that you can let out all your emotions and cry, and everything will be okay.

Rest in Peace, Shinji.

Bibliography

Sharifi, Hossein.  Rate Your Music.  “Fishmans: 98.12.28 男達の別れ (98.12.28 Otokotachi no Wakare)

Sonemic.  2018.

 

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/fishmans/98_12_28-%E7%94%B7%E9%81%94%E3%81%AE%E5%88%A5%E3%82%8C-98_12_28-otokotachi-no-wakare/

Advertisements

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Music Review by Colin Allen)

Posted in 1990s, 1990s Music, Music, Uncategorized on June 1, 2018 by Mr. Winch

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is the third album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was released on October 23, 1995 (Sharifi).

Image result for mellon collie and the infinite sadness

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is one of those corny but charming high school dramedy movies, but as an album. It’s a lot of things at once; angry, sad, beautiful, rebellious, sentimental, anguished, and introspective. The instrumentation varies from song to song, but is mostly composed of the masterful guitar work of Billy Corgan and James Iha, the incredible drums of Jimmy Chamberlin, and the satisfying bass lines of D’arcy Wretzky. Billy is also the lead singer, and his voice can take some getting used to, but personally I absolutely love it. He can sing softly and beautifully, on tracks such as “Cupid de Locke”, or he can scream and go insane on tracks like “Tales of a Scorched Earth”. The album is composed of six sides; “Dawn”, “Tea Time”, “Dusk”, “Twilight”, “Midnight”, and “Starlight”. “Dawn”, “Twilight”, and “Starlight” are all soft and dreamy. “Tea Time”, “Dusk”, and “Midnight” are all hard and intense. Every single side represents its own certain time frame perfectly. Mellon Collie is like a big clock of adolescence, cycling from caring too much, to caring not enough, to caring just enough. Billy Corgan’s sentimental lyrics somehow masterfully represent every facet of the teenage experience, and in doing so, made a mature record that feels like it’s not.

 

Image result for mellon collie and the infinite sadness

There’s 30 tracks in total, and out of that, there’s not a single track I wholeheartedly dislike. But some are better than others, those being: “Tonight, Tonight”, “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans”, “Cupid de Locke”, “By Starlight”, “X.Y.U.”, “Stumbleine”, and “Lily (My One and Only)”. For time’s sake, I’ll go over my top two favorites; “Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans”, and “Cupid de Locke”. The former is a 9 minute, dynamic as hell, progressive, intense, dreamy epic of a song. “Porcelina” has a lot of really beautiful vivid imagery in the lyrics, describing a beautiful woman named Porcelina, who is able to bring forth higher realms of thought and love because of her relationship with the vast blue oceans. “Cupid de Locke” is one of the most beautiful tracks on the record, with interweaving soft guitars, an amazingly whimsical and pretty synth lead, expansive drums, and soft silly vocals. The lyrics describe Cupid and Satan, love and death, all in olde english, and it’s quite pretty. At the end of the song, there’s a spoken word section, and it’s one of my absolute favorite moments on the entire record.

Image result for mellon collie and the infinite sadness

 

Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness is one of those very special, once-in-a-lifetime albums. It’s an album that transcends age and time, it’s an album that people now and people twenty years from now will relate to all the same. It’s a lush but intense album that has been the soundtrack to many personal experiences I’ve had.

 

Bibliography

Sharifi, Hossein.  Rate Your Music.  “The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Sonemic.  2018.

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/the-smashing-pumpkins/mellon-collie-and-the-infinite-sadness-16/

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (LP) Review by Colin Allen

Posted in Music on May 25, 2018 by Mr. Winch

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is the second album by American indie folk/indie rock/lo-fi band Neutral Milk Hotel. It was released on February 10, 1998 (Sharifi).

Image result for Communist Daughter In The Aeroplane Over The Sea Neutral Milk Hotel

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is one of the most emotionally compelling, passionate, poetic, sad, whimsical, surreal, and lovely albums ever made. With a soundtrack composed of a single acoustic guitar, fuzzy bass, drums that are a lot more interesting than they would appear, all variety of horns, singing saw, organ, tapes, banjo, accordion, bagpipes, and last but not at all least, the raw, nasally, enchanting vocals of Jeff Mangum; ITAOTS is a vintage postcard to a beautiful young girl who was taken too early from this world. This young girl spent most of her time alone, writing to herself about her wishes to experience life and go to penny arcades, to go to the circus, travel to Spain, and ride high above the sea in an aeroplane, but most of all, to experience love and sex and everything human under the sun, to explore her body, to explore the feelings and colors that come with the human condition; to love and to lose, to weep and to laugh, to break and to be rebuilt, to die and to live. If it was possible to save her in a time machine, she would have been. She would’ve been loved, she would’ve laughed, she would’ve been rebuilt, she would’ve explored her body under the sun, and experienced what it’s like to grow up and realize that life isn’t supposed to be spent running away and hiding from people who want to kill you. And when she wasn’t saved, when she was killed, her ashes were finally brought onto an aeroplane, dropped onto the fires of a piano played by a boy with two marvelous heads, observed by her own red daughter, Goldaline. As the ghost of her ashes rises up to the eternal white light in a synthetic flying machine, she bends her back and twists around the sky, bubbling and bright, feathers and fruit surrounding her. She lands on a cloud and meets her lover, laughing, smiling, crying tears of joy, and making love to him above the rain and thunder providing a silly musical accompaniment to the cars sliding across the water beneath.

 

Image result for Communist Daughter In The Aeroplane Over The Sea Neutral Milk Hotel

Every track is amazing and worthy of praise in its own way. I guess I’ll say my top three, which are “Communist Daughter”, “Oh Comely”, and “Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two”. “Communist Daughter” is a beautiful and emotional track, wrought with ambient horn noises and waves crashing, a trumpet solo, and the alluring, low vocals of Jeff Mangum. The song is about sex, masturbation, and purity. “Oh Comely” is the longest track on the record, and is an epic in every sense of the word. Its emotional, it’s seductive, it’s pretty, it’s bright and dark, and very surreal. With some of the most beautiful and interesting lyrics on the record, “Oh Comely” keeps the themes of sex and purity, and also details love and death, and adultery and pregnancy, and music, and softness, and most importantly, longing for someone you’ll never ever be able to save from death. The song starts out with just Jeff’s raw nasally vocals and his guitar, but evolves to include horns and such. “Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two” is the final track on the album and is an extremely good conclusion. It is hands down the most emotional track on the record, and is just Jeff and his guitar. It has surreal lyrics, describing love, fatherhood and motherhood, loss, sadness, voices and kisses, beautiful eyes, longing, God and death, and leaving.

 

Related image

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is a collection of lovely fractals that blend and morph to create a beautiful experience that is one of the most compelling, impressive, and honest vintage postcards ever made. I cannot even begin to describe the influence this record has had on me personally. It has settled into the attic of my brain and isn’t leaving anytime soon. ITAOTS is so very beautiful and all I can do is thank Neutral Milk Hotel for creating such an amazing postcard.

Bibliography

Sharifi, Hossein.  Rate Your Music.  “Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

Sonemic.  2018.

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/neutral-milk-hotel/in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea-10/

American Football (Music Review by Colin Allen)

Posted in 21st Century, Music on May 22, 2018 by Mr. Winch

Image result for american football band

American Football is the first album (and for a while, the only, until they released another in 2016) by American midwest emo/indie rock/math rock band American Football, released on September 14, 1999 (American Football’s Bandcamp).

Related image

Seems I have an affinity for sad albums, and in continuing that fashion, American Football is one of the most poignant collection of songs ever put together in recorded history. Evoking insanely accurate feelings of sadness, regret, loneliness, growing up, and bittersweet; American Football is set in autumn, after the breakup of a serious relationship. The songs are in unusual, mathy time signatures, which are weirdly melancholic. The dueling guitars are soft and twinkly, with complex riffs that interweave with each other to create a modern symphony of sadness. The bass is simple, but is just enough to feel whole, and the drums are jazz influenced, with complex grooves and fills that stray from conventional rock drumming. The vocals are sung with a certain cadence which lends itself well to this style of music; occasionally soft, occasionally harsh, but consistently somber. It describes everything that comes after a breakup, a bittersweet breakup, one that you know is good for you and your now-ex, but still hurts. The album explores leaving and saying awkward goodbyes, trying to pretend nothing happened, honesty and trust (or lack thereof), realizing that love isn’t permanent, reflecting on the things you did wrong, growing up past bad experiences, emotions that are so potent they interrupt conversation, staying home because the outside world is just way too much of a mess, and finally accepting that fact that shit happens. It’s not a particularly cold album, but not exactly a warm one either. Like Autumn, its atmospheric, vaguely sad, and sentimental. Leaves falling from the trees like tears falling from your eyes on your way home.

 

Image result for american football band

As these albums count down it’s become a lot harder to choose my favorite track. If I had to choose, I’d say “I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional”. It’s one of the most energetic tracks on the album, with powerful but somber vocals, mildly aggressive and complex guitar riffs, and an absolutely bangin’ drum fill at the beginning. The energy doesn’t make it a happy track, in fact it’s still very sad, describing how Mike Kinsella and his lover are two completely different people with different emotional thought processes, both in regards to company and solitary. And most of the time, the emotions are just too much to actually get anywhere. Despite the fact they’re still interested in each other, it’s just not working. It’s like someone watering an artificial plant. No matter how much one tends to it, it will never grow.

 

Image result for american football band

American Football is one of the most important albums to me. It’s an album that has shaped a lot of my musical taste, and has helped me a lot when I’m sad; either just a bit blue, or completely soul-crushed, it’ll always be there for me.

 

 

Bibliography

Football, American. “American Football: American Football” American Football,

Bandcamp, 14 September 1999

https://americanfootball.bandcamp.com/album/american-football

Carissa’s Wierd: Songs About Leaving (Review by Colin Allen)

Posted in 21st Century, Music on May 17, 2018 by Mr. Winch

 

Image result for Carissa’s Wierd: Songs About Leaving

Songs About Leaving is the third and final studio album by American indie rock/slowcore band Carissa’s Wierd (weird is intentionally spelled wrong). It was released on August 6th, 2002 (Sharifi).

Image result for Carissa’s Wierd: Songs About Leaving

If Souvlaki is pure melancholy as an album, then Songs About Leaving is pure, heartbreaking, soul crushing sadness as an album. Hushed male and female vocals, dueling acoustic guitars, flashes of piano and beautiful violin, jarring punchy drums, and suicidal, depressive, self-hating lyrics all culminate into an album that creates a chamber of sadness around the listener, shooting their brain with bullets full of pessimism and anxiety. Melody and dissonance combine to create a lovely catharsis, and as sad as it is, it’s also weirdly (wierdly) comforting. Songs About Leaving is like the last cold hug from someone you deeply care about. Its beautifully honest, and frankly it hurts. It’s saying “I cared about you once, and I’m sorry I don’t anymore.” It rips one’s heart apart, and then awkwardly mends it back together with guitar strings and a sharp needle.

Image result for Carissa’s Wierd: “Low Budget Slow Motion Soundtrack Song for the Leaving Scene

My favorite track is hard to choose. Based on my emotions and points in my life, my choice has switched again and again. At the current moment, my favorite is probably “Low Budget Slow Motion Soundtrack Song for the Leaving Scene”. With some of the most beautiful violin, mellow guitar, soft tambourine, simple but effective piano, and of course the hushed, sombre vocals stylings of Mat Brooke and Jenn Ghetto on the album, this song is slow and lethargic. It’s title perfectly describes it, it’s the song that plays in slow motion as you walk away from the last place you’ll ever be happy and feel at home. Some of the most relatable lyrics are contained in this song, describing coldness, warmth, regret, feelings, waiting, and love long lost. It’s anxious, depressive, lethargic, and beautiful.

Image result for Carissa’s Wierd: Mat Brooke and Jenn Ghetto

Songs About Leaving is an album that I’d happily die to. It’s an album that perfectly captures a mood and emotion, and personally has helped me a lot in sad times. I know I’ve said it before, but goddamnit is this album beautiful. That’s all I have to say.

 

Bibliography

 

Sharifi, Hossein.  Rate Your Music.  “Carissa’s Wierd: Songs About Leaving.

Sonemic.  2018.

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/carissas-wierd/songs-about-leaving-2/

William Bonney: Good Vibes

Posted in 21st Century, Music, punk, Rock on May 4, 2018 by Mr. Winch

https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/ar0/ae97d344c8ad4970a111eee540893ad8

 

Image result for william bonney good vibes

William Bonney

Good Vibes

Music Review by Colin Allen

Good Vibes is the only EP by American midwest emo/screamo band William Bonney. It was released on May 1st, 2011 (Sharifi).

 

Image result for william bonney good vibes

Good Vibes is exactly the opposite of what it’s title entails. It’s sad, it’s melodramatic, it’s nihilistic; it’s basically “life sucks – the album”. With a healthy medium between twinkle and distortion, intense drilling drums, and emotional lyrics and vocal delivery (screaming), Good Vibes evokes anger, sadness, melancholy, loneliness, and self-hatred. Most of the lyrical content is set after a break up, and dealing with yourself, anxiety, and loneliness. It’s a sad album for sure, but it’s also an enjoyable listen. Every track is great, and extremely head-bangable. Basically, you can mosh and cry at the same time. My favorite track is “No Pizza,” an intense little jaunt wrought with emotional comparison to weather, missing people who were important to oneself, and loneliness.

Image result for william bonney no pizza

 

Good Vibes is one of the most important albums to my musical taste, as it got me into screamo and the harder side of emo. It’s an amazing, albeit sad album, that has helped me a lot in sad times. It’s nice to know that someone else, someone I look up to, has gone through the same emotions. I even met the vocalist, Jack Senff, and he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Good Vibes is one of those albums that I absolutely love to listen to, yet also makes me sad. But it’s worth it.

Image result for william bonney good vibes

 

 

Bibliography

Sharifi, Hossein.  Rate Your Music.  “William Bonney: Good Vibes.” Sonemic.  2018.

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/ep/william-bonney/good-vibes-2/

Feedback by John Isaacson (Zine Review by Anika)

Posted in Comics, Music, punk, Rock, Zines on July 5, 2017 by Mr. Winch

Feedback by John Isaacson is a zine that features reviews of live music shows. Each page features a clipping of the poster for the show and opposite to the poster is a comic of some interactions John had while at the shows, and some are quite funny.  This zine is a great compilation of comics and artwork. Each page tells a little story about the experience John had and just from that, you get the whole mood of the show. This zine has a whopping 13 different shows in it plus bonus album reviews in the back. This zine was made with care and lots of thought. It is clear that John’s love for the music scene is immense.

Image result for Feedback by John Isaacson