Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Completely Conspicuous 385: Reeling in the Years, 1997 (Part 3)

Part 3 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1997. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").
 
Show notes:
- Jay and Brian's #4
- Pavement continues a strong run of records
- Brian's coffee shop
- Jay's #3
- Ben Folds Five breaks through
- Brian's #3 to be discussed later
- Jay's #2
- Built to Spill's guitar pop excellence
- Brian's #2
- Foo Fighters' sophomore album is chock full o' good songs
- Backbeat soundtrack is great
- Jay gets confused
- Jay's #1 and Brian's #3
- Radiohead steps up their game
- Brian's #1
- Ween shows off its chops on The Mollusk
- Next up: 1994

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stuck In Thee Garage #89: July 24, 2015

The show took an unexpected week off last week because of technical bleep-blorp issues, which was ironic since hour 2 was full of songs about technology. Nevertheless, here it is in all its rocktastic glory and it actually works out okay because now I can prepare a show ahead of my vacation in two weeks. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.


The "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Twiki?" playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Happy Diving - So Bunted/So Bunted
Du Blonde - Black Flag/Welcome Back to Milk
Veruca Salt - Eyes on You/Ghost Notes
Hippo Campus - Suicide Saturday/Bashful Creatures
Mourn - Gertrudis, Get Through This/Gertrudis
Ultimate Painting - Winter in Your Heart/Ultimate Painting
The Heavenly States - The Specialist/HISS
Maff - Million Year Picnic/Maff
Geronimo! - Fires of Hell/Buzz Yr Girlfriend, Vol. 4: Why Did You Leave Me?
Havania Whaal - John Day/13 A.D.
Lubec - Your Magic Wand/Wilderness Days
Infinity Girl - Taking Nothing/Just Like Lovers
Swirlies - Park the Car by the Side of the Road/Blonde Tongue Audio Baton
Split Single - Never Look Back/Fragmented World
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Yo-Yo Man/Eddy Current Suppression Ring
The Hives - Hate to Say I Told You So/Veni Vidi Vicious

Hour 2: Technology
Gary Numan - Engineers/The Pleasure Principle
Prince and the Revolution - Computer Blue/Purple Rain
St. Vincent - Digital Witness/St. Vincent
Big Putts - Computer Rock/Bogey Nights
The Kills - Satellite/Blood Pressures
TV On the Radio - Satellite/Young Liars
Lou Reed - Satellite of Love/Transformer
David Bowie - TVC 15/Station to Station
The Stooges - TV Eye/Fun House
Bad Religion - 21st Century (Digital Boy)/Stranger Than Fiction
We Are Scientists - Human Technology Will Render You Obsolete/Safety, Fun and Learning (In That Order)
Arcade Fire - Deep Blue/The Suburbs
Metric - Clone/Synthetica
Marnie Stern - Clone Cycle/This Is It and I Am It...
Guided by Voices - Gold Star for Robot Boy/Bee Thousand


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Completely Conspicuous 384: Reeling in the Years, 1997 (Part 2)

Part 2 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1997. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").
 
Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- Bubbling under albums
- Brian: Flaming Lips' Zaireeka was designed to have its 4 CDs listened to simultaneously
- Sweet 75 was Krist Novoselic's side project
- Brian gives thumbs down to Eyes Adrift, which had a song about Jonbenet Ramsey
- Jay: Totally missed Superchunk's Indoor Living at the time
- Different sounds from Cornershop, Portishead
- Return to form for Cheap Trick
- Brian: Aerosmith's Nine Lives had a few good songs
- Brian: Deftones were the most interesting of the metal acts
- McCartney's Flaming Pie is one of his last great albums
- Jay: Decent but not great albums from Matthew Sweet, Rollins Band, Dino Jr.
- GBV's Mag Earwhig was a strong release
- BS: Dylan's current comeback started with Time Out of Mind
- To a certain generation, pop punk is classic rock
- Sleater-Kinney hasn't made a bad album
- Jay's #5 will come up later
- Brian's #5
- Primus has more of a straight-ahead rock sound on The Brown Album
- To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Free and Easy

Thursday night, I got home after hockey and sat down with my laptop to enjoy a cold beverage and relax a little. As I am wont to do, I went on Facebook to see what was going on and noticed that a few friends had posted about a new Wilco album that had dropped within the last hour or so. The album, cleverly entitled Star Wars and featuring cover art of a kitten to maximize Internet search traction, was a free download for anyone who signed up for Wilco's mailing list.

Coincidentally, I had already planned to download new releases from Ava Luna and Hard Left, two relatively new acts who had made the albums available on Bandcamp for "Name Your Price," meaning you can get them for free or choose to pay whatever you wish. So I spent the next 20 minutes or so downloading three new albums for free.

Such is the nature of the recording industry nowadays. Wilco, a revered veteran act, now releases records on its own label and can afford to just release a surprise album for free because it seemed like a fun thing to do. Ava Luna's release, Takamatsu Station, is an odds-and-sods collection that follows on the heels of its April studio album Infinite House, and Hard Left is a band comprised of punk veterans playing old-school music and giving their new album away because they don't give a shit about the music industry.

It's an interesting time to be a rock recording artist. Record labels are in a shambles; why any band would sign to a major label is beyond me. Top 40 pop and hip hop are all the rage, so rock acts aren't selling anywhere near what they used to. Major label distribution doesn't mean shit if nobody's buying anything anymore. Radio's no help because there aren't many commercial stations left that play modern rock; every market still has one or two classic rock stations, but that's of no use to bands like Ava Luna or Hard Left, or even Wilco. There's still college and online radio stations that champion these acts, but obviously they're not exactly reaching a huge audience.

A band like Wilco at least has a large and loyal audience that will buy whatever the band releases and then go see them live. And Ava Luna and Hard Left hope to develop similar legions of fans through touring and word of mouth, and indeed, they make money by selling CDs, vinyl, shirts and other merch directly to fans at their shows. I saw Lubec and Havania Whaal, two bands from Portland, Oregon, last week in Allston as they were kicking off an East Coast tour. I bought a record from Lubec and a t-shirt from Havania Whaal, providing an additional $10 to each band. It's not a lot, but it goes toward basic expenses as the groups travel down the coast to various stops. They have to hope each night that fans in attendance will buy merch and keep them going.

I have to think bands that get into the rock game these days must be doing it for the love of playing music. They certainly can't get into it expecting to be rich and famous. Gone are the days when a band like Cheap Trick can release four excellent but under-the-radar albums for a major label before hitting it big with a song from a live album recorded in Japan. They would have been dropped after the first or second album stiffed, and they certainly wouldn't have received the radio airplay required to make "I Want You to Want Me" a monster hit. It's interesting to watch a band like Speedy Ortiz emerge, releasing excellent records, touring non-stop, getting great reviews and press, and still probably not selling 1/10th of the units that Walk the Moon will with that annoying hit song they've got this summer. Twenty years ago, Speedy Ortiz would have been HUGE. Now, folks like me are content to say we saw them pack cool little rock clubs. And that's just the way it is.




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Completely Conspicuous 383: Reeling in the Years, 1997 (Part 1)

Part 1 of my conversation with guest Brian Salvatore as we look back at the music of 1997. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").
 
Show notes:
- Recorded via Skype
- 1997 was first year Brian was aware of popular and cool music
- Brian was 15, Jay was 29-30
- Both of us had our first dates with our future wives in '97
- Some quintessential '90s hits: Mmm Bop, Wannabe, I Believe I Can Fly
- Jay: Saw a lot of great shows that year
- Big year for chick rock
- Brian: Spawn soundtrack combined hard rock with trip hop
- Industrial/electronic music became prominent
- Bowie's 50th birthday concert
- Tail end of swing music era
- Ska-rock was hot
- Rap rock was taking root
- Adult alternative radio format was big
- Green Day's "Good Riddance" blew up
- Brian defends Third Eye Blind
- Big deaths: Hutchence, Jeff Buckley, Tim Taylor of Brainiac, Notorious B.I.G., John Denver
- Chris Farley died
- Rainbow broke up in '97
- To be continued

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stuck In Thee Garage #88: July 10, 2015

It's hot. Sticky hot. Africa hot. Okay, not Africa hot, but it's hot. This week on Stuck In Thee Garage, I played songs about water in hour 2 to help beat the heat. It's not the same as air conditioning, but it rocks nonetheless.



The Costner-curated playlist:

Hour 1
Artist - Song/Album
Waxahatchee - Under a Rock/Ivy Tripp
Philadelphia Collins (feat. Ellen Kempner) - Sofa Queen/Derp Swervin'
Mac McCaughan - Box Batteries/Non-Believers
Metric - Cascades/Pagans in Vegas
Wolf Alice - Your Love's Whore/My Love is Cool
La Luz - Don't Wanna Be Anywhere/Weirdo Shrine
Grave Babies - Something Awful/Holographic Violence
Shannon and the Clams - Corvette/Gone by the Dawn
ThinLips - Gemini Moon/Divorce Year
SWIVS - 2 Credits 2 Continue/Free Period Blood Money
Viet Cong - Pointless Experience/Viet Cong
Pinecones - Do Not Move/Sings For You Now
Grounders - Fool's Banquet/Grounders
Sick Sad World - Keep It Real/Fear & Lies
The Prefab Messiahs - Weirdoz Everywhere/Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive
Jawbreaker Reunion - Beer and Loathing/Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club
Run the Jewels - Early (feat. Boots)/Run the Jewels 2

Hour 2: Agua
Modest Mouse - Ocean Breathes Salty/Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Scarce - Ocean Blue/Tattoos and Parades
Matthew Sweet - The Ocean In Between/Kimi Ga Suki Raifu
Queens of the Stone Age -I Sat by the Ocean/...Like Clockwork
Jane's Addiction - Ocean Size/Nothing's Shocking
Divine Fits - The Salton Sea/A Thing Called Divine Fits
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Inland Sea/The Century of Self

Soundgarden - My Wave/Superunknown
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Water and a Seat/Pig Lib
Los Campesinos! - The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future/Romance is Boring
Yuck - Middle Sea/Glow and Behold
The Jesus Lizard - Seasick/Goat
The Fall-Outs - Out at Sea/Summertime
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Six Months in a Leaky Boat/Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead
Kyuss - Capsized/Blues for the Red Sun
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Ships With Holes Will Sink/These Four Walls
U2 - The Ocean/Boy



Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Completely Conspicuous 382: Middle Management

Part 3 of my conversation with guest Jay Breitling about our favorite music of the year so far. Listen to the episode below or download directly (right click and "save as").


Show notes:
- JK: Nai Harvest's new album is infectious, fun rock
- Topshelf Records has some good acts in its lineup
- JB: Colleen is a former schoolteacher turned recording artist
- JK: Chandos is the band formerly known as Chandeliers
- JB's #1: Spectres has a psych-blues sound out of the UK
- JK: Viet Cong stirred up dumb controversy because of its name
- METZ is back with more kickassery
- New Mikal Cronin album expands his sound with orchestral touches
- JK's #1: Jeff Rosenstock's sound combines Weezer and Titus Andronicus
- JB: Looking forward to new releases from Infinity Girl, Lubec, Johnny Foreigner
- JK: Anticipating new material from Savages, Titus Andronicus, Destroyer, Fidlar, Kurt Vile
- Not looking forward to new Don Henley album

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!
 
The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog Clicky Clicky. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian.