Once again, we’re reaching deep into the grab bag… a mysterious album brought to us by a mysterious listener: The Mysterious Mark H. Past harbinger of Black Messiah and FFS, Mysterious’s latest recommendation came with precious few clues, apart from it being dubbed “a curveball”, thus distinguishing it from his previous picks. Without letting on too much, the album is called Headspace by the band Issues. (And do bear with us, as, in all great mysteries, the “big reveal” is nothing without its share of red herrings.) Also stick around for a light discussion on personal thresholds for musical components.
You might know him from Something Corporate, or even from Jack’s Mannequin; well now, know him from his official solo project, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. As the artist appears to have settled on the new stage name (for now), today we’ll be looking at the second solo album released under that moniker, Zombies on Broadway. Afterwards, stick around for a discussion on how experiencing a live show or a studio album first can affect one another.
Oczy Mlody? …Otshee Mwodee? …Oxycodone? …Whatever it is, it’s the latest creation by alt rock veterans, The Flaming Lips. Inspired by phrases from a Polish translation of Erkine Caldwell’s novel ‘Close to Home’, Oczy Mlody is certainly a head scratcher, easing us into a dreamlike haze, surprising us in moments, and challenging our rating system like never before. Stick around after the analysis [@2:12:34] for a discussion on evolving perspectives, multiple mindsets, and the effort to avoid our own echo chambers.
You may have some catching up to do (or some skipping to do) if the following doesn’t tickle your fancy… Video game music! Today, we’re looking at a smattering of the old and the new (mostly old). But no, this isn’t a fit of nostalgia, nor a “best-of” playlist; it’s a collection of remixes, specifically of select projects by the popular YouTuber Smooth McGroove whose multi-layered ‘a cappella’ game theme covers seemed all-too-ripe for the not-so-tender techno touch. Released through GameChops, the album Smooth McGroove Remixed features the work of ten different producers who’ve worked tirelessly to bring these themes from your childhood, and from YouTube fandom, to, of all places, the dance floor! In the course of our analysis, we’ll be expressing our individual experiences with each iteration of the evolving theme-work before tackling a hefty post-album discussion on the mounting importance of Creative Commons.
Today we’re exploring the junction point of indi artistry, hip hop, comedy, and candidness… namely the self-described “Rhyme Minister” from Bromsgrove, Mr. Dan Bull. Having cultivated a devoted online following, in part owed to file sharing culture, Dan Bull is known for penning delightful odes to games and other media, for his comedic twists on familiar subjects, and for his intimate manner of encapsulating his own life experiences. On his latest album, Hip Hop Hooray, Dan Bull tackles subjects cheerful, silly, grim, and dire, offering fodder for celebration and analysis alike. Join us as we peer into the mouth of this “vicious beast”, and as we briefly address the topics of file sharing and fan art at the top of the show.
The groundhog has seen its shadow… and in that shadow… lurks CORIMA. If you’ve never heard of the ‘Zeuhl’ genre, then—just for the moment—spare yourself from culling through the 11-album discography of Magma (the genre’s progenitor), and instead dive into Amaterasu, the third album by a vibrant and imaginative group based out of L.A. Taking after the jazz/prog leanings of its Zeuhl predecessors and the fully-enabled “anything goes” attitude of the RIO (Rock in Opposition) movement, Corima is all about fusion, yet also free of inhibition. The result: a two-piece, multi-movement concept work called Amaterasu. In this episode, we begin with an overview of Zeuhl before taking off on a roller coaster of an album analysis.
Time to put on your computer & electronic music caps. Fusing the instincts of two overseas composers, Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux, Two Changes (an album released through Paralaxe Editions) is a two-track experience like no other. From techno, to ambient, to industrial, to the jazz noir finishings of pocket trumpetist Eben Bull, Two Changes offers a little bit of everything with no shortage of spectacle, and occasionally, stupefaction. And so, after another pre-album preamble, concerning electronica and track length, @0:18:42 we explore and assess the inner-workings of Two Changes‘ only pieces, “The Same River Twice” and “A Different River Once.” Join along!
Feeling classy? We’ve got quite the episode in store for you today. First, we’re switching things up by placing our topic—a multi-pronged preamble for today’s album—before the analysis instead of after. As a grand introduction to Chambers by Chilly Gonzales, we properly thank Doug Ferguson of the Music A to Z Podcast for recommending it, we talk a bit about their podcast, a bit about Chilly himself, and for our topic we address our own experiences with classical music over the years and reflect on the nasty habit of classical “avoidance”. At last, once we’re all warmed up, starting approx. 20 mins. in we begin to tackle Chambers, an album of twelve bite-sized neo-Romantic works featuring Chilly at the piano accompanied by Hamberg’s Kaiser Quartett. So sit back, dive in, check out the Music A to Z Podcast (as well as Doug’s last request), and indulge in the vast multiverse that is music and those who love discussing it.
Welcome to our “official” inaugural episode of 2017! To kick off the year, we’re looking at a well-known pillar of the music industry: Sting and his twelfth solo album since departing The Police (and first solo rock album in more than a decade), 57th & 9th. In an outward and inward-looking album where Sting takes a hard look backwards and a hard look at his surroundings at the same time, how does 57th & 9th fare as a work of art? Press play and contribute! Also, @1:57:35, we turn in our New Year’s “homework”, assigned to us back in ep. #222. In a frenzied search for weird and wild forms of art, we discuss six music genres that appeal to us—or repel us—in style or concept, all in an attempt to stump our colleagues. What niche genres do you find appealing?
Well, it’s been one hell of a year, and one hell of a week! Today we bring you the last episode of our 5-day series, our annual broad look at a year’s worth of albums analyzed. These ‘year in review’ episodes represent our most cherished opportunity to shower additional praise, to re-analyze, to reiterate, and occasionally to rectify our past weekly instincts. Though we try our damnedest, it’s impossible to fully digest albums on a week-to-week basis, so we’re constantly re-examining. We’ll start off with our rating changes, head over to our category prizes, take on the ever-so-maligned booby prizes, and then of course share with you our top picks. We have high hopes for 2017, high hopes for music, and high hopes for all of you! Thank you for another great year and we hope to see you next week.