June 2011

New header, again. This one will probably stick around for a month or so, but I still need to tweak some issues with it (**cough**blog name too faint as-is), but at least it is a step in the right direction.


For those keeping track, here is the Reminded Music header-history up to this point:

1. Generic WordPress option–the whole record player image was pretty good… but I always scoff when I encounter blogs who use one of the (few) image options WordPress offers.

2. Found a Creative Commons image on Flickr of a colorful live-music scene. Actually pretty cool, although the colors seemed a bit out of step of what I (usually) post here. Plus, I was technically supposed to give photo credit–and there is no real place to put a photo credit on a header.

3. The current one. Finally found a decent free image-manipulation program for the Mac (GIMP) and whipped together a collage of album art. It has its problems, but even though it feels like a step down from the last one, at least I put it together.

Hopefully at some point I can really get down to business and craft a worthy header–something that I put together that makes Reminded Music feel less–ragged. Until then, this will suffice.

Artist: Sleep
Album: Dopesmoker (or Jerusalem)
Year: 1996
Label: Tee Pee Records
Genre: Stoner Metal
RIYL: Black Sabbath, Torche, really long songs

The history on this beast is a mess. So I’m just going to paraphrase Mutant-Sounds (who hipped me to this jam): Sleep took their label signing money, blew it on weed, and recorded one long song whilst high as a kite. And then they submitted it to the label, who said “nuh-uh.” Label wanted to split the one long track into multiple tracks and Sleep said “nuh-uh.” Album gets shelved. HERE is where it gets complicated.

A) Sleep allows a bootleg edition to be released (image above) and calls it Jerusalem and then years later a label licenses it, splits it into 6 tracks, and then releases it again as Jerusalem with a different cover (google it). Then some other label decides that the public can handle one long track and releases the whole thing as Dopesmoker (cue 3rd album cover).

B) Switch around chronological nonsense from above paragraph as needed.

The essential thing to realize is that this has been released multiple times, with multiple covers, album names, and methods of presentation–some of which is in line with the artist’s original vision, and some which aren’t.

::Deep Breath::

Now, Reminded Music tries to stick to an ethical code on what albums to post. See the right sidebar–>
Reminded Music is kind of making an exception here because:
1) This rip is taken from the bootleg release (see above image)
2) The Dopesmoker release is out of print
3) Thus, the only way to get the music legally is with the Jerusalem album where they split one song into 6 songs.

In my esteemed estimation, this has a higher chance of being taken down than most of my posts, hence the reason I am calling this Dopesmoker in the header and on the upload file. Figure I might curve some otherwise unwanted attention. Plus, the Dopesmoker release is more associated with the single, long song than the Jerusalem release.

Or just skip all of the above tomfoolery and just download the damn album already.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: Two Prong
Album: Good v. Bad
Year: 2010
Label: Northern-Spy Records
Genre: Weirdo Indie Rock
RIYL: ramshackle doo-hickery using an indie rock pallet
Essential Tracks: Purple Vapor, The Postman

Look at that album cover. Ain’t it a beaut? Reminds me of the artwork found in old Children’s books. That little elephant reminds me of the Rudyard Kipling creation from his epic story, “The Elephant’s Child.” (Which you should probably read right now, just because). Still, all that would be for naught if the songs sucked. But they don’t.  Indeed, O Best Beloved, Two Prong’s 2010 offering gives us some pretty fabulous fuzzy indie rock with some great ramshackle percussion, and just all-round good ditties.

Now isn’t this a post for you? A full album PLUS a bonus story. Shit, you scored jackpot.

(Click for FreeMusicArchive download page)

Artist: The Overcoat
Album: The Overcoat
Year: 2011
Label: self-released?
Genre: Dark, orchestrated indie
RIYL: Richly composed songs that buck cookie-cutter expectations–but not immediately
Essential Tracks: Simple Man, Fantasies, Get Chose

First of all, many thanks to Creep Scanner for the heads-up about this free Bandcamp download. I know nothing about The Overcoat other than the fact that they released their first album this year and you can download it for free. But when music is this darn-tootin’ fabulous, extra information isn’t really needed. This is a dark album, yet sonically the songs are composed in such a way that they both feel upbeat while dragging at the same time. It is a really weird effect. I can’t think of any band that I listen to to really compare The Overcoat to. Occasionally I get a whiff of Pedro the Lion, sometimes Greg Dulli’s band The Twilight Singers… but neither really prepares the listener for what The Overcoat actually does. The best thing to do is go to their bandcamp page and listen to the first track through the chorus.

Perhaps the best part is that The Overcoat isn’t a one-trick-pony. The songs each surprise in their own way, all while maintaining a cohesive sense of togetherness.

(Click icon for Bandcamp download page)

Artist: John Moran
Album: The Manson Family: An Opera
Year: 1992
Label: Polygram Records
Genre: Avant-Garde/Opera
RIYL: The Residents, Iggy Pop, Charles Manson
Essential Tracks: Act 1. Subject: The Beatles, Act 2. Subject: Lynne (Squeaky) Fromme, Act 3. Squeaky in a Boat

How to catch the attention of Reminded Music: A recipe.

1. 3 tablespoons of recommendation by minimalist composer Philip Glass
2. 2 cups of references to murdering families lead by the infamous Charles Manson
3. Stir well in one big bowl. Bake.
4. Add a pinch of vocals by Iggy Pop.
5. Season to taste.

I’d never heard of John Moran before, but if this album is any indication he’s worthy of all the praise that Philip Glass has heaped upon his shoulders. Topic aside, The Manson Family feels like a modern composition. Sometimes the music is minimalistic, but with environmental sounds (sirens, vehicles passing) or dialogue that feels inspired by what The Residents have done. It is appropriately eerie, a touch morbid, and completely insane.

There are a variety of characters given voice and/or song–Iggy Pop is the most recognizable name to lend his talents. But every role seems very well done, regardless. Pop doesn’t overshadow, nor does he undershoot his abilities.

Highly Recommended to all left-of-the-dial music fans out there.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: Moon/Ruin
Album: Ocean
Year: 2011
Label: White Moon Recordings
Genre: Summer Psych Pop Rock
RIYL: Straightforward, yet spry, bouncy-guitar-tunes
Essential Tracks: Sway, Days of Harmful Rays, Moon/Ruin

I spent most of the day sleeping–waking up with a headache is not a great way to be productive. However, when I wasn’t sleeping I was scouring the interwebs for any music that strikes my fancy. While every album that I downloaded sticks out in its own way, this one will be the first to get the nod here simply because these are fun Summer songs and, hell’s bells, anything that can get me smiling during this damned heat deserves to be highlighted. Hell, look at that album cover that looks ripped straight from an Exotica record from the 1970s. The music, while not really “exotica” avoids doing the cover a disservice by being completely awesome. Songs are good not because of any gimmicky trick (though I am a sucker for those), but because the actual song composition is surprising and fun.

The songs are short, so the 8 tracks take a mere 16 minutes to fly by. But oh how sweet those 16 minutes are!

(Click icon for the free Bandcamp download page!)

Artist: Duo Inmortales
Album: Legends of Domination
Year: 2006
Label: You Are Not Stealing Records
Genre: Experimental/Avant-Garde
RIYL: The Everyday Film, TTS, structured noise
Essential Tracks: Monster or Psycho, Love in the Atomic Era, My First Nazi Girl

I don’t think I’ve ever really contemplated listening to an album where the vocals are–or appear to be–“courtesy” of text-to-speech. TTS has been around forever–my first memory is messing with the text-reader on a Mac computer when I was 7 or 8 years old. It blew my mind. Since then TTS technology has improved quite a bit–I mean, my GPS is usually about 95% correct in it’s pronouncing of road names. But I would have never considered applying TTS to music.

Yet here we are. Duo Inmortales mixes TTS with some interesting noise to create a really interesting effect. They manipulate the pitch of the TTS so that it comes eerily close to feeling intelligent. Not human, or even alive, but it fluctuates with mimicry that HAL could be proud of. This would all be a moot point, except the noise constructed behind it really fits well. You could almost imagine this as a soundtrack to a silent horror film.

(Click icon for YANSR download page)

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