For a couple of years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.
Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (1975)
From my friend Spencer: “Lou Reed is a great fusion guitarist, and this features only 4 tracks (totaling over an hour of music) that will leave you simply astounded…
“I was going to leave it at that, but I feel bad being so deceitful. This is the worst album I’ve ever heard. I’m all for listening to artsy stuff here and there, but I really couldn’t finish this. There’s no form, no melody, just a bunch of really long very shrill tracks. I don’t know why he bothered to separate it into tracks, other than to flip the record over. So, not a real album this week. If you can bear to listen the whole way through I’m impressed. There’s really not any reason to though. Its a bit like listening to a modem or something for an hour. This guy can play great guitar and has good writing and stuff. He was the main songwriter for Velvet Underground. According to wikipedia, he just released this to fulfill his contract with his label. He claimed it was the epitome of heavy metal.
“When I heard this a few weeks ago I thought I just had to share it. If nothing else, it’ll helps you realize how bad music really can get. I figure if you need time to catch up its a good week to share something really awful. Next week I’ll have a serious one.
“Don’t enjoy. But laugh about it and skip through after a minute or two.”
Out of a lack of other (serious) recommendations, I ended up giving this a listen.
And it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It actually sounded like someone was rewinding a tape. And I was listening to them do it over the phone. Or rather, I was on the phone with someone listening to the radio where they were do it. It was like there was supposed to be structure and melody, but you only got hints of it behind the interference. I will never listen to this again by choice, but if it wasn’t for the length, it wouldn’t have been a negative experience. It was just long and unengaging. And not actually music. 1/5
Rated Blue – Three Walls Down (2015)
Gratefully, Spencer also recommended a seven song EP from a power blues trio in Ontario. Hot off the press, released Nov. 1, 2015.
If you haven’t heard of these guys, I’m not surprised. This is a friend of Spencer’s who recorded it with his son and a buddy in their shed/studio. Another small-time group like The Sleeping Philosophers, using the same open-source recording software. Spencer hadn’t listened to this himself when he shared it, but he said Glenn (his friend) has historically had good stuff.
I was really surprised how much Day of the Blues jumps. And with just three people. It felt bigger than that. I’m not always a huge fan of drum or bass solos. In the middle of the song, they felt like they were just handing out solos. However how they did it at the end felt a lot more natural, even though they were short. I would have preferred they cut out the earlier solos and expand the call and answer at the end.
The riff on the title track was really cool, although I think the vocals on that track were the weakest. Not that any of the songs had terrible vocals. It was just more about the instruments and groove for me. My Face‘s lyrics did seem a little campy, but the guitar solo was sweet. So was Frank Underwood Blues‘.
I liked how Waiting slowed down a little and changed up the feel, while not loosing too much energy – until the end, when it got rockin’ a bit. I’m a little sad that they brought it back down. I think it would have been sweet to keep it going and just fade out on that.
There aren’t any bad songs, but only the album opener really stood out to me. 3/5
Emily Hope Price – The Crux and the Bluestocking (2009)
Emily is a friend of some of my friends. She got her undergrad from USU and is now very much a New Yorker. To me, this is very much the epitome of hipster music. It’s a blend of alt. rock, folk, jazz and pop – on the cello. And every one of her CD cases was hand made on recycled card stock – no two are the same.
I first heard of her a few years ago when she came back to Logan to promote this EP at a house concert at the Boat House (for those of you who might know what/where that is) where I did the sound. My friend Randi helped put the show together (and opened). Our friend Jer was supposed to do the sound, but couldn’t, so I used his PA and soundboard and did the sound for the show myself. Maybe she was just having an off night and maybe she’s really nice, but I got the distinct impression that she thought she was better than the rest of us.
But I still like her music. Here’s what my friends thought:
“Right off the bat, I like the opening plucked cello. Her singing seems a bit… like she’s singing with a fake accent. The first half was ok. There were a few moments that I thought, she’s got a lot of singing talent. But then a lot of the time her singing annoys me. She’s not consistent in her pronunciation or something, so it sounds like she’s just trying to sounds like different people, switching in the middle of a line. Even though the vocals are fairly clear its difficult to understand her words. Perhaps the problem is just that there’s not enough compression on the vocal, so it often seems like she’s moving away from the mic and dropping syllables. Where her singing is so exposed, I really wish they’d have tried to make them a bit more understandable. A big part of the issue is her pronunciation.
I’d say she’s got a lot of talent, some good writing. I really like the use of cello in this album. Its fresh, but I’m having a hard time getting into it. 8 Ball is pretty cool. I like the reverse cello, gives a really cool ambiance to the track. Danny Sorrow had good build. When the snare comes in is a good moment. And it sets up 8 ball really well. That has to be my favorite track. Charlie was nice too, with some trombone in there. I don’t think I’ll ever come back for another listen, but I wouldn’t skip it in a playlist either.” 3.5/5 – Spencer
Let me know what you thought of these, or share your favorite EP, in the comments below.