Wednesday, August 31, 2011


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Lovely Bad Things - I Just Want You to Go Away- in the Trashpretty "basement"

The Lovely Bad Things get the crowd sweaty and moving in the Trashpretty "Basement"-
A few observations- Brayden's (drummer) vocal mic is so low that it might as well be off which is a shame as he sings the lead chorus line. Lauren's (guitar) guitar string wind is extra long... I mean really long. You could poke a moshers eye out with that thing. Cam's (guitar) hair is characteristically in his face like it always is and should be and Tim (bass) with his dark sunglasses is looking very Jackie O.

Despite any technical difficulties, the song rocked the crowd and "I Just Want You to Go Away" is destined to be a commercial hit, at least as much of a commercial hit it can be with the lyric containing one of the 7 words you don't say on radio (or television). The anti love song while emotionally wrought has some stinging barbs in the lyrics indicative of a relationship gone really bad. The opening lyric sets the tone, (Lauren sings) "Wherever you go... I'm not gonna follow... We're not on the same side of things anymore"- Equally witty barbs run through the chorus - (Brayden with Cam on backing vocals sings) "And the boys that hear you sobbing... Don't Give a Shit. I don't know what I'm searching for but I know that you're not it. Where have you been all my life so I know where you can stay. I don't know what I want anymore... I just want you to go AWAY"-
Who could not relate to this song??

You can hear the studio version here: I Just Want You to Go Away

Adler Bloom

Tomorrows Tulips- Eternally Teenage - a sparkly slow dance

We had the pleasure of seeing Tomorrows Tulips @ Trashpretty in Laguna Beach yesterday. "Eternally Teenage" is a sparkly slow dance of a song that make you want to be a love struck teenager all over again.
Adler Bloom

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient: Formulaic and Uplifting?

The War on Drugs latest outing Slave Ambient is an apt title. Awash in a constant sound of sustain, most of the album is a bit like one of those friends who feels so uncomfortable with silence that they have to continually say something, anything. The lack of empty spaces works on some songs and not on others. "Baby Missile" opens things up (as it did on their EP Future Weather) and with it's happy beat, droning organ, jumpy lyrics, harmonica swells and fade out, it still sounds like it is embedded in an 80's movie where Patrick Swayze would leap and dance with his shirt unbuttoned. Adam Granduciel has always had a voice print that shares some of the same shapes as Dylan, Petty and The Boss and in "Brothers" he languishes on his words so much that you wonder if there is a Zimmerman somewhere in his family tree. It is sparkly and earnest but sets a familiar and somewhat forgettable pattern. "Come to the City" is a sweeping, stadium sized wanderlust of a song, "lead me back to the place I'm from past the farms and debris"- full of scratchy film memories, a "Heroes" like bass line and Springsteen like "Whooo hooo's".

Slave Ambient is not all blue collar fury. "Black Water" (my favorite song on the album) is less washed in sound. Granduciel's voice has never sounded richer and the song takes time to grow and warmly wrap you up in it's story, "Remember me when you dissolve in the rain- when the rivers run dry through the cold mountain range - when you turn to the name you invented to keep your identity safe from the smell of defeat". Alas, some of the instrumental compositions sound more like filler especially the anthem like "City Reprise" and the 28 second "Come for it" but "The Animator" does stand on it's own as an interesting soundscape. The War on Drugs unabashedly embrace some standard rock conventions (both musically and lyrically) and like "Baby Missile", the last track on Slave Ambient, "Your Love is Calling My Name" again pile drives like a song in Footloose or some other 80's movie where the hero breaks out in dance. Granduciel even drawls out, "It's gonna be alright..... yeah." To the cynics among us, some of what The War on Drugs is creating can sound so embedded in Americana rock traditions as to sound formulaic and to those of us who are more pure of heart, their music soars with both light and dark undertones and is just plain and simply... uplifting.

Hell... maybe it is gonna be alright.
Adler Bloom

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Album Review - Massachusetts 2010 - Mathieu Santos

As a composer, Mathieu Santos (bass player extraordinaire for Ra Ra Riot) is poised somewhere between Koji Kondo and Brian Wilson. In the perfectly sweet and earnest "(I just) Need to Know" I can hear whispers of both the theme to Mario Brothers and "Wouldn't it Be Nice" or a number of other songs on the Beach Boys iconic 1966 Pet Sounds album. Built around the one lyric "I just need to know" - Santos imbues the words with innocence and longing as the music dances along like a finely orchestrated video game. It is infectious and daring and one of my favorite songs on Massachusetts 2010, Mathieu's full length debut album. There is a lot to like here from "I can Hear the Trains Coming" which highlight Santos' nimble bass playing to "Silly Thoughts" which wraps a lush arrangement around hand claps. "Northern Mentality" with sparse drums, driving syncopated bass line and an 80's vibe hooks you in immediately and reminds me a bit of Santigold's sound on her debut album. Like a lot of the songs on Massachusetts 2010 it has layers and layers of amazing instrumentation. Hearing each ingredient tossed into the mix is half the fun. The other half is how far reaching these soundscapes are. "Wait to Get Up" jams with crunchy lead licks and swings like The Police style reggae. At 1 minute and 35 seconds in, I dare you not to join in the yelps. "Massachusetts" percolates with extremely lively bass, percussion and a story telling melody style that is reminiscent of South African Zulu Isicathmiya folk songs. I absolutely love "I Said So" except that it doesn't last long enough. The bass punches and kicks like a Mod / Punk song done live in a tube station. "I'd Go" also floats around that Pet Sounds vibe and would be a song that Brian Wilson would fall lovingly (or "druggingly") asleep to in his sandbox. The instrumental "Good Return Theme" is a bit of driving background music and "The Bay / Where to Find Her", to me, serves more as a musical stream of consciousness and meanders a bit but who really cares. The songs on the impressively deep Massachusetts 2010 are so original, so delicious that I can live with a couple of green jelly beans.
Adler Bloom

Monday, August 22, 2011

BLOK featured in SPIN MAGAZINES- L.A.'s Misfit Club Culture

Nick Haymes shot our friends BLOK for part of Spin Magazines "Inside L.A.'s Misfit Club Culture" - The pics are wonderful although I never thought of BLOK as misfits but just freaking creatively awesome and gorgeous to boot.

Check out the article here: SPIN MAGAZINE

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dead Trees - "Back to LA"

From their Bio:

The Dead Trees formed in Boston in 2007 shortly before heading west to Portland, OR. After their debut EP, Fort Music, fell into the hands of Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., he took the band on the road with him for two US tours. Since then they have released their debut full length, King of Rosa (2008), played shows/toured with MGMT, Har Mar Superstar, The Whigs, Adam Green among others, and have toured the world both opening for and performing as Little Joy's backing band.

"Back to LA" is bright and sparkly with a strictly radio friendly super pop chorus. The City of Angels can only hope that this song will be the kid brother to Randy Newman's "I love LA" which has grown a wee bit stale after being played one buhzillion times.

Adler Bloom

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Album Review: Ready to Kill by Charles Mansion

When "Ready to Kill," the debut album from Fullerton, California based Charles Mansion, came across my virtual desk, I instantly thought that I would be plugging into some garage punk or art rock glam ala Marilyn Manson. Instead, Charles Mansion has created a potent mix of nuvo classic rock (a term that just came to me) that feels immediate and fresh but also timeless. In songs like "Jacket and Tie" and Dig em Up" you can feel the brash blues (hard) rock of bands like MC5 and the Beatles circa 1968. Think of songs like MC5's "Black to Comm" or the Beatles' ""Helter Skelter", "Why don't We do it in the Road" (White Album) or"Dig A Pony" (Let it Be). Charles Mansion has managed to write songs that touch on that same kind of late 60's blues based rock sound played with wild abandon and some sophisticated twists and turns thrown in. In fact, to stretch the Beatles comparison a bit further, Corey Kaiser would be the Lennon (especially when his vocals are over modulated) to Tim Gray's McCartney. Kaiser's vocal bite works so well in harder edged songs like the aforementioned tracks as well as "Ready to Kill" where he strains so hard I can hear the veins in his neck bulging. All this to a backdrop of dancy guitar verse rhythms and a full on "house party gone too far" rock chorus. Gray's melodious tones are evident on "Jeign" and "Small Doses" were he can belt out and caress the lyrics at the same time.

Lest you think that Charles Mansion is all heavy blues rock bluster, songs like "The Gallows" and "Only You" show another stylized side. "Only You" with it's picking and sliding guitar, trancy harmonies and sparse drums and bass is down right beautiful and kind of haunting. "The Gallows" with it's honky tonk / dirty dusty cowboy on the brink of death sound has secured it's place in my brain like a Damon Albarn ear worm.  "Trapeze Artist" propelled by Ryan Bartholemy's bouncy as hell bass line and a solid downbeat courtesy of Jason Kaiser, has an off kilter sense in the guitar playing and vocals that is befitting of a high wire act. "Mrs. Johnson" is a cautionary tale that starts out like a slow burn and then builds into a torchy sex pot of a song that is part bump and grind and part last nights regret.

The musicianship on "Ready to Kill" is top shelf in every respect. At a time when many new artists bury vocals and everything else into a reverb wash for full noise band effect, Charles Mansion is kind of a throwback to a more classic rock sound where you can hear all the elements distinctly amidst all the lovely distortion and rock chops. Charles Mansion...  still not crazy about the name but I am sure it will grow on me as quickly as the songs on "Ready to Kill" which is one hell of a debut album.
Adler Bloom


Charles Mansion is Corey Kaiser (guitar/vocals), Tim Gray (guitar/vocals), Jason Kaiser (drums), Ryan Bartholemy (bass).  Ready To Kill engineered, mixed and produced by Tim Gray and Charles Mansion.  Mastered by Marc McClusky (Weezer, Dangerous!).

Charles Mansion - Ready to Kill
Charles Mansion - Facebook

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Torches Album Review- Foster The People create musical pablum.

I remember the first time I heard "Pumped Up Kicks" with it's laid back bass line and mini megaphone vocals. It is ear candy that quickly stupefies you into a sugar coma before the reverb washed chorus (seemingly about a mass shooting) has your head bopping like a mental patient. Something about this song while clearly catchy also sickened me. Every sound seemed like a contrivance influenced by bands like Gorillaz, MGMT, and Peter, Bjorn and John. It was like all the elements were there but it also felt absolutely devoid of any creative soul. It is the second track on Torches, the wildly popular debut album by Foster the People. Mark Foster is clearly the creative force having composed and written every song with the exception of "Miss You" which he co-wrote with Zach Heiligman and "Live on the Nickel" which he co-wrote with Paul Epsworth. The resulting Torches is an amalgam of hand claps, thick synths, kid sounds, dancy piano down beats, and more. It is mostly bright and upbeat. If Jamiroquai and MGMT had a baby and then the baby was dropped on it's head (sorry for that visual) it would sound like Foster The People. Unfortunately not many vocal or musical chops are on display and the writing is not particularly fresh or inspired. I did actually like "Waste"... that is until the bridge departed into MGMT land taking some melodies and chord progressions if not exactly from "Weekend Wars" but close enough in tone and texture to feel like a rip off.

While this album is not receiving super high praise, it has received very favorable acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork Media and others which is perplexing to me. Not since Good Charlotte's, The Young and the Hopeless which sold 4.9 million copies and who graced the cover of Rolling Stone in 2003, have I been so utterly jarred by what passes as good indie pop. Foster the People creates musical pablum that a lot of people eagerly eat up but I find so hard to swallow. It is not that Torches is not full of well produced songs, it is just that they are creatively shallow and, in the end,  maybe there is something appealing about that. After all, in deep waters you have to be mindful of your surroundings, you have to tread water...  you have to more or less know what you're doing but in the shallow break water you can simply goof around and just look good. Hell, you don't even have to get your hair wet.
Adler Bloom

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Björk’s Biophilia: The $800 Box Set- Bjork iconic musician, performance artist and huckster??

IN THE WTF FILE    As reported courtesy of Stereogum:
 [This] strictly limited-edition, lacquered and silkscreened oak hinged lid case comes with the full Biophilia Manual as well as 10 chrome-plated tuning forks, silkscreened on one face in 10 different colors, stamped at the back, and presented in a flocked tray. Furthermore, each fork is adjusted to the tone of each of the tracks from Biophiia and covers a complete octave in a non-conventional scale. is adjusted to the tone of each of the tracks from Biophiia and covers a complete octave in a non-conventional scale. 
 This is fine and dandy but all this art (and pretense) for $800??
 Bjork is pretty much an avant-garde iconic musician and performance artist but I would of never thought of her as a huckster. When so many people are struggling to make a dolla to even put this out there for the outlandish price of $800 is not only offensive but just plain silly. I hope to Gawd that the proceeds are earmarked to a charity or something in that vein.
read full article here