Roman — So Ghost?

So Ghost

Year: 2005
Label: Karaoke Talk
Length: 33:30

I think I heard of So Ghost from a Bleep.com email way back in 2005/2006. Listening to it I imagined a guy at home with a laptop making electronic pop songs.

So Ghost is the kind of album I wanted to create back when I wanted to create albums. Sometimes when I listen to this I think I still do.

Track # Name Rating
1 Saving Juno ★★★★★
2 Skiver ★★★★
3 I Found Love ★★★★
4 So What? ★★★
5 Cuddle for a Corpse ★★★★
6 Devils Call ★★★★
7 Beat It ★★★★
8 True Love Owes Us Shit ★★★★★
9 Unbroken Smile ★★★
10 Modlitwa ★★

Prefuse 73 – One Word Extinguisher

One Word Extinguisher

One Word Extinguisher celebrated its 10th birthday last week.

I remember first hearing “Detchibe” on the Warp homepage back in early 2003. I had heard nothing like it before. It introduced me to instrumental hip-hop, or glitch-hop, or whatever you’re supposed to call whatever this is.

One of the best albums released in the new millennium. Just listen to it if you haven’t.

Track # Name Rating
1 of 23 The Wrong Side Of Reflection (Intro) ★★
2 of 23 The End Of Biters-International ★★★★
3 of 23 Plastic ★★★★
4 of 23 Uprock And Invigorate (A Prefuse/Daybre Production) ★★★★
5 of 23 The Color Of Tempo ★★★★★
6 of 23 Dave’s Bonus Beats ★★★
7 of 23 Detchibe ★★★★★
8 of 23 Altoid Addiction (Interlude) ★★★
9 of 23 Busy Signal (Make You Go Bombing Mix) (A Prefuse/Daedelus Production) ★★★★
10 of 23 One Word Extinguisher ★★★★★
11 of 23 90% Of My Mind Is With You ★★★★
12 of 23 Huevos With Jeff And Roni ★★★
13 of 23 Female Demands ★★★
14 of 23 Why I Love You ★★★★
15 of 23 Southerners (Interlude) ★★★
16 of 23 Perverted Undertone ★★★
17 of 23 Invigorate (A Prefuse/Daybre Production) ★★★★
18 of 23 Choking You ★★★★★
19 of 23 Storm Returns (A Prefuse/Tommy Guerrero Production) ★★★★★
20 of 23 Trains On Top Of The Game (Interlude) ★★★
21 of 23 Styles That Fade Away With A Collonade Response ★★★★
22 of 23 Untitled ★★
23 of 23 Untitled ★★★★

Sade — Promise

promise

Year: 1985
Label: Portrait
Length: 54:06

Oddly (is it so odd?) I got into Sade through MF Doom.

A lot of great music that I’ve heard for the first time is because of MF Doom beats. MF Doom used a lot of Sade. Check out Doom’s All Spice and you’ll hear Sade’s Is It A Crime.

Is It A Crime is also one of the best intro tracks I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t know what qualifies it to be that, but I just feel it man. Maybe I need to listen to this more, but, for me, the whole album is propped up by that first track.

Also odd, my brother really likes Sade. I don’t get it. He listens to a lot of reggae.

Track # Name Rating
1 of 11 Is It A Crime ★★★★★
2 of 11 The Sweetest Taboo ★★★★
3 of 11 War Of The Hearts ★★★
4 of 11 You’re Not The Man ★★★
5 of 11 Jezebel ★★★★
6 of 11 Mr Wrong ★★★★
7 of 11 Punch Drunk ★★★
8 of 11 Never As Good As The First Time ★★★
9 of 11 Fear ★★★
10 of 11 Tar Baby ★★★
11 of 11 Maureen ★★★

Ben Folds Five — The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner

The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner

Year: 1999
Label: 550 Music
Length: 40:20

My favorite Ben Folds Five album.

I was on a school trip in Toronto when I bought this. Ben Folds Five had been riding high on the hits from Whatever and Ever Amen. Classmates of mine had that album, but ignored Fear of Pop and The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

This holds my favorite BFF songs. I’ve always thought this was the darkest BFF album, and I don’t mean that just because of the album cover.

Track Name Rating
1 of 11 Narcolepsy ★★★★
2 of 11 Don’t Change Your Plans ★★★★★
3 of 11 Mess ★★★★★
4 of 11 Magic ★★★★★
5 of 11 Hospital Song ★★★★★
6 of 11 Army ★★★★
7 of 11 Your Redneck Past ★★★★★
8 of 11 Your Most Valuable Possession ★★★
9 of 11 Regrets ★★★★
10 of 11 Jane ★★★★
11 of 11 Lullabye ★★★★

Valerie and Friends

valerieandfriends

Year: 2009
Label: Valerie
Length: 1:17:27

French electronic group College gained some popularity after the release of the movie Drive. The track A Real Hero, with Electric Youth, was featured during the movie and quickly became part of Drive memes.

But if you’re interested in more of that style of music, futuristic french electro, then you’ll want to pickup up this compilation featuring other artists on the french label Valerie.

Track # Title Artist Rating
1 Zombie Lady Minitel Rose ★★★★
2 Long Distance Hearts Anoraak ★★★★
3 Starlighter Jupiter ★★★★
4 Inner Sanctum Dvas ★★★★
5 The Light Of Your Dress College ★★★★
6 Deep In The Forest Keenhouse ★★★★
7 Faces Electric Youth ★★★★
8 Daytona Russ Chimes ★★★★★
9 Lost In Big City Maethelvin ★★★★
10 Runaways The Outrunners ★★★★
11 Eyes Like The Ocean Futurecop! ★★★★
12 1stracklove ((Instrumental)) Moulinex, Press Release ★★★★
13 Last Scene (Daytona Mirage) SymbolOne ★★★★
14 Woodstock Xinobi ★★★★
15 Excalibur Galactica Narctrax ★★★★
16 Red Sonja Loose Shus ★★★★
17 Saturnalia Steve Moore ★★★

New Order — BBC Radio | Live In Concert

BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert

Year: 1987 (Released 1992)
Label: Strange Fruit
Length: 59:09

There aren’t many official live recordings of New Order, if any, so this BBC Radio recording of New Order’s 1987 Glastonbury appearance is as close as you’ll get to one that’s not on a DVD.

I’ve often read that New Order isn’t so great live. They would leave the stage and go home while pattern-based synths and drum machines continue doing their thing. After hearing this recording I believe it.

This is New Order at the height of their success. Bernard Sumner was never a great vocalist, but he is obviously high or drunk on this recording. He goes flat. Lyrics get slurred. He messes up the melodica part on Your Silent Face. He is not on his A-Game.

But what are you going to do? NOT see New Order and NOT dance your ass off like an idiot, especially back in 1987?

Track # Title Rating
1 Touched By The Hand of God ★★★★
2 Temptation ★★★★
3 True Faith ★★★★★
4 Your Silent Face ★★★★
5 Every Second Counts ★★★
6 Bizarre Love Triangle ★★★★
7 Perfect Kiss ★★★★★
8 Age Of Consent ★★★
9 Sister Ray ★★★★

Looks like this is a pretty rare recording. You can’t get it on Amazon MP3, iTunes, or Spotify. Way to go, 10 years ago me, who bought the Joy Division / New Order set.

Pivot — O Soundtrack My Heart

http://mlkshk.com/r/C8IJ

Year: 2008
Label: Warp
Length: 51:12

I like a lot of stuff that Warp puts out, but O Soundtrack My Heart is my most recent favorite, even considering it’s been almost four years since O Soundtrack My Heart has been released.

Try to file it under Post-Rock, but that cover art will leave you thinking of Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene. And rather than some guys just messing around with guitars and effects pedals for 50 minutes, Pivot (or PVT, as they’re now known as) do more than create some atmospheric jumble that I often hear in the genre.

Haunting. Highly recommended.

Track # Title Rating
1 October ★★★
2 In The Blood ★★★★★
3 O Soundtrack My Heart ★★★★
4 Fool In Rain ★★★★
5 Sing, You Sinners ★★★★
6 Sweet Memory ★★★★
7 Love Like I ★★★★
8 Didn’t I Furious ★★★
9 Epsilon ★★★★
10 Nothing Hurts Machine ★★★★
11 My Heart Like Marching Band ★★★★
12 Furious No Furious (iTunes Bonus Track) ★★★★

Saint Etienne – Good Humor

Saint Etienne Good Humor

Year: 1998
Label: Sub-Pop
Length: 43:35

I downloaded plenty of MP3s from Napster back in 1999/2000. Napster allowed me to branch out from the musical selections you may expect of any awkward teenage boy, namely lots of They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies, and Crash Test Dummies. One of those MP3s was Sylvie from Saint Etienne’s Good Humor.

Sylvie has a 60s gogo meets disco vibe that caught my ear. I don’t remember why I downloaded it, but I was downloading a few New Order tracks, a few Groove Armada tracks, stuff you could dance to.1 I must have read somebody else’s gushing over Good Humor.

When you’re a teenager it’s as if there are expectations of what you should listen to. I remember going to a CD store with some friends, probably an FYE or Sam Goody’s—we didn’t have indie record stores where we grew up—and looked at Daft Punk’s Homework. “You buy that and we can’t be friends anymore,” a friend of mine told me. I think he was joking. He was going through a Bob Dylan phase, almost the opposite end of the spectrum. He later denied saying that, saying he would never make fun of anybody’s music tastes. That was probably a lie.

Good Humor is very different from a lot of the music I listened to at the time, which may be why I consider it one of the most important albums I have in my collection. I didn’t own much music with a woman singer, much less songs sung from a woman’s perspective.2 And while I love nearly every song on this album, what it represents for me is something greater. Good Humor is when I stopped caring about what other people thought about the music I loved and realized that the only opinion that really should matter to me was my own.

If I had given into the peer pressure I may eventually have come to love jam bands and Bob Dylan, but it just never happened.

I eventually replaced that Sylvie mp3 with an iTunes Store copy, buying the rest of the album with it. It’s still in the old iTunes DRM format. As of this writing you can’t even buy Good Humor on iTunes and Amazon MP3. However, it looks like Sub-Pop is rereleasing it in a deluxe edition…someday.

Track # Title Rating
1 Woodcabin ★★★★★
2 Sylvie ★★★★
3 Split Screen ★★★★
4 Mr. Donut ★★★★★
5 Goodnight Jack ★★★★★
6 Lose That Girl ★★★★
7 The Bad Photographer ★★★★
8 Been So Long ★★★
9 Postman ★★★★
10 Erica America ★★★★
11 Dutch TV ★★★★

  1. It occurs to me now that downloading music back then wasn’t like today when you might grab a torrent of an entire artist’s discography. These were dialup days…a few mp3s now, a few mp3s later. 

  2. Cracknell sings “Sylvie girl, although you’re my little sister, well, you’re not without your charms. I’m not sure that he’ll resist you.” Before then most lyrics I knew went something like “the Spiraling Shape will make you go insaaaaane” or “How does a duck know what direction south is?” 

Varia Suite – Metroid Metal

Varia Suite

Year: 2009
Label: Silent Uproar Records
Length: 50:17

These heavy metal arrangements of themes from Metroid are pretty rockin’. Most of these are of music from the original NES version and Super Metroid, which is fine by me.

Track # Title Rating
1 Prelude (SM) ★★★★
2 Lower Norfair (SM) ★★★★
3 Brinstar (NES) ★★★★
4 Item Room (NES) ★★★★
5 Item Collect (NES) ★★★★
6 Kraid (NES) ★★★★
7 Ridley (NES) ★★★
8 Phendrana Drifts (MP) ★★★
9 Boss Medley (SM) ★★★★
10 The Tunnel (M2) ★★★★
11 Space Pirates (MP) ★★★★
12 Maridia – Escape (SM-NES) ★★★
13 Ending (NES) ★★★
14 Theme (NES) ★★★★

Altair Nouveau — Dark Energy

darkenergy

Year: 2009
Label: Emusic Selects
Length: 30:14

Electronic, dark John Carpenter styled music meets dance beats. Probably my favorite thing I ever got from Emusic.

As part of Emusic Selects, Emusic’s series of exclusive releases, it’s only available through Emusic. If you’re into this kind of music it may be worth giving Emusic a trial. Currently the album is selling at $2.45.

Track # Title Rating
1 Death on Four Wheels ★★★★
2 Cosmos ★★★★★
3 Dark Energy ★★★★
4 Street Thunder II ★★★★
5 Destroyer ★★★★

Sally Shapiro — My Guilty Pleasure

SallyShapiroGuiltyPleasure.jpg

Year: 2009
Label: Paper Bag Records
Length: 38:22

An anonymous swedish singer and producer Johan Agebjörn’s second release under Sally Shapiro. 80s synth-pop / italo-disco influences. Miracle can turn into a real earworm if you let it.

Track # Title Rating
1 Swimming Through The Blue Lagoon ★★★
2 Looking At The Stars ★★★★★
3 Love In July ★★★★
4 My Fantasy ★★★★
5 Let It Show ★★★★
6 Moonlight Dance ★★★
7 Save Your Love ★★★★
8 Dying in Africa ★★★★
9 Miracle ★★★★★

PJ Harvey — White Chalk

White Chalk

Year: 2007
Label: Island
Length: 33:57

PJ Harvey just had a new album come out, but I really really love White Chalk. Probably my favorite of hers.

Via Wikipedia:

For this album Harvey has moved away from alternative rock and recorded a set of songs for piano, despite her lack of expertise on the instrument. In an interview in The Wire she explained “the great thing about learning a new instrument from scratch is that it […] liberates your imagination.”

Track # Title Rating
1 The Devil ★★★★★
2 Dear Darkness ★★★★
3 Grow Grow Grow ★★★★
4 When Under Ether ★★★★
5 White Chalk ★★★★
6 Broken Harp ★★★
7 Silence ★★★★
8 To Talk To You ★★★★★
9 The Piano ★★★★★
10 Before Departure ★★★★
11 The Mountain ★★★★
Album Rating ★★★★

Osborne — Osborne

osborne

Year: 2008
Genre: Electronic
Label: Ghostly International / Spectral Sound

Somewhere between Detroit techno, acid…runs pretty long at about about 77 minutes.

It’s from Ghostly International, so if you like anything from them already you’ll probably like this.1

Track # Title Rating
1 16th Stage ★★★★
2 Downtown ★★★★
3 Evenmore ★★★
4 L8 (As TNT) ★★★★
5 Suffer ★★★★
6 Our Definition of a Breakdown ★★★
7 Ruling ★★★
8 Afrika ★★
9 Air Pistol ★★★★
10 Detune ★★★★
11 Outta Sight ★★★★
12 Junk Food ★★★★
13 Fresh ★★★★
14 There ★★★★★
15 5th Stage ★★★★
Album Rating ★★★★

  1. The free Ghostly Swim Compilation can also give you a taste of everything Ghostly. It also features the funkiest Osborne track, Wait A Minute

Grum — Heartbeats

Heartbeats

One of my favorite dance/house albums of 2010. Fashion is a cover of the Bowie song.

Track # Title Rating
1 Through The Night ★★★★★
2 Can’t Shake This Feeling ★★★★
3 Runaway ★★★★
4 Fashion ★★★★★
5 Power ★★★★
6 Cybernetic ★★★
7 Heartbeats ★★★★
8 Turn It Up ★★★★★
9 Want U ★★★★
10 The Really Long One ★★★★
11 LA Lights ★★★
12 Someday We’ll Be Together ★★★★
Album Rating ★★★★

Double Dragon II Arranged

Double Dragon 2 Arranged

I played a lot of Double Dragon II when I was a kid. I don’t think I would have if the music hadn’t been decent.1

These arranged versions of themes from Double Dragon II are heavy on synth and guitar and should sound comfortable to anybody who had a Nintendo growing up — if they can get past the J-Pop vocals on some tracks.

Check out Low Pursuit, which I believe to be an arrangement heavily influenced by Phil Collins’s Easy Lover, and Advancing Towards Sunset.

So 80s.

Track Title Rating
1 Dead or Alive (Vocal Version) ★★
2 Unleashing the Ogre (Mission 1) ★★★
3 Low Pursuit (Mission 2) ★★★★★
4 Night Sky Tension (Mission 3) ★★★
5 Advancing Towards Sunset (Mission 4) ★★★★★
6 Escape To The Forest (Mission 5) ★★★★
7 Wicked God (Mission 6 ★★
8 Breaking The Barrier (Mission 7) ★★★★
9 Entering The Enemy Base ★★★
10 Roar of the Double Dragon (Final Boss) ★★★★
11 Miracle of the Double Dragon (Reunion) ★★★★
12 Rising Desire (Ending Theme) ★★★
13 Dead Or Alive (Edit Version) ★★
Album Rating ★★★

  1. My hypothesis is that games like Double Dragon and Mega Man intentionally used catchy music to discourage players from giving up, but games aren’t that difficult these days so we don’t need to do that anymore