Chris

Comments from Chris

I'm digging the production on everything I've heard so far. It has that unmistakable Dave Fridmann crunchy/distorted drum sound and the reverb drenched vocals we've come to expect, but some nice new sounds getting added to the mix along with cool stuff like unexpected stop/starts. This track, and I'm a Man have a really nice upfront sound where the bass, drums, and vocals are really up in the mix, then all of a sudden you'll get these wide accents. This will be a fun record to really sit down in a quiet room and really listen to. I think stoners in particular are going to appreciate this album perhaps even more than the prior Tame Impala albums because of these awesome production flourishes.
+2 |
May 8, 2015 on Tame Impala – “Eventually”
How long before someone edits the on screen text to mock Tidal?
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April 27, 2015 on Watch Daft Punk’s Tribute Video To Nile Rodgers
Sandinista definitely meets some of those criteria, but falls flat where it counts most: the songwriting. It has it's share of great songs, but the ratio of good songs to bad skews way to high to the latter on Sandinsta. London Calling got it right.
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April 10, 2015 on Wowee Zowee Turns 20
I love albums that are "like the White Album," and when I hear that phrase there are three records that come to mind: 1. The White Album (ok, it actually is "The White Album") 2. London Calling 3. Wowee Zowee What makes an album "like the White Album?" It's usually: 1. The die-hard fans favorite album 2. All over the place stylistically (Martha My Dear, Revolution 9, Glass Onion) 3. Has incredible songwriting throughout 4. Includes several WTF moments/songs 5. Runs over an hour in length Each of those three records feel like the works of bands subconsciously trying to balance their creative peaks with the malaise and pressure of their own success and ultimately just saying "screw it" and doing whatever they damn well pleased.
+4 |
April 10, 2015 on Wowee Zowee Turns 20
I'm still underwhelmed by everything I've heard thus far. The drum loop reminds of the "baggy" days, pre Modern Life is Rubbish. What they appear to be going for is interesting in terms of the sound/vibe, but the underlying songs aren't there. None of these tracks would hold up to classic Blur if performed with just solo piano or acoustic guitar. Considering as recently as a few years ago we got Under the Westway, and shortly before that Damon wrote Melancholy Hill, I feel like he may have been holding back better songs for other projects. The guy clearly still has it in him to write a great song, but from the various stop/starts, news, and interviews around recording this album, sounds like Damon just wasn't into it.
+1 |
March 23, 2015 on Blur – “Lonesome Street”
When they put out Under the Westway a few years back, I was completely excited by the prospects of a new Blur album. It's probably one of my favorite Blur songs (though that would be a very long list). Listening to the two songs released so far however leaves me completely underwhelmed. My hope is that these are more "album tracks" than proper singles, and that there's going to be some gems on this album that we are yet to hear. If this is the strong material, then this album will be horribly disappointing.
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March 21, 2015 on Blur – “There Are Too Many of Us”
I was such a big Beck fan in high school, that looking back, I'm a little embarrassed by it now. So a few quick points: first, I think Sea Change has some of Beck's best songs (Lost Cause, Golden Age) but is otherwise pretty overrated with some boring songwriting, going so far as to just knock off a Serge Gainsbourg song (Paper Tiger is a blatant pastiche of Melody) without bringing anything new to the table. Next up: Morning Phase, while not having the highs of Sea Change, is a much more consistent overall album in terms of songwriting (read: the lows aren't as low as Sea Change, nor are the highs as high). One Foot in the Grave is a lofi, indie folk classic. It's like the goofy, stoner version of Will Oldham's And Now I See a Darkness. Western Harvest by Moonlight: Googling it now says this was an EP, but at 12 songs, the only EP thing about this is the fact it was a 10" vinyl versus the standard 12." I'm counting this as an album. Guero and The Information both have good songs, but just feel like they have too much filler to rate highly for me. Plus, they just feel like the same album. Last one I really want to talk about is Midnite Vultures: this just should not have happened. There's too much going on in that record, and the songwriting is generally sub par. I'm amazed so many people have it rated so highly (and I loved all the live versions of Debra I'd heard on the various tours and performances before that album). Even Beck seems to wish he could take that one back based on what he's said in some recent interviews. So my list (top 3 is easy): 1. Odelay (how anyone can dispute this is beyond me) 2. Modern Guilt (late career classic) 3. One Foot in the Grave This is where it gets hard to rank things (each is pretty good): 4. Mellow Gold 5. Morning Phase 6. Mutations 7. Sea Change And where the albums fall out of the "pretty good" range, but where each still has some good moments: 8. Guero 9. The Information 10. Stereopathetic Soul Manure And the stuff I just can't stomach to listen to in any meaningful way: 11. Midnite Vultures 12. Golden Feelings 13. Western Harvest by Moonlight (own this one on vinyl with the 1st pressing finger painting) Some good non-album tracks (in no effort to order them, just going through my iTunes): 1. Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes 2. Feather in Your Cap (from Suburbia Soundtrack) 3. It's All in Your Mind (original version from the One Foot in Grave Japanese version/deluxe edition) 4. Electric Version and the Summer People (Japanese "Mutations" version not the New Pollution Single one) 5. I Won't Be Long 6. Timebomb 7. Deadweight 8. I Only Have Eyes For You (pretty true to the original cover, but that in and of itself is a bit surprising) 9. Jon Spencer Blues Exposion w/ Beck: Flavor Pt. 2 (w/ Mario C. of Beasie Boys fame - this is from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Experimental Remixes EP)
-2 |
February 20, 2015 on
I was such a big Beck fan in high school, that looking back, I'm a little embarrassed by it now. So a few quick points: first, I think Sea Change has some of Beck's best songs (Lost Cause, Golden Age) but is otherwise pretty overrated with some boring songwriting, going so far as to just knock off a Serge Gainsbourg song (Paper Tiger is a blatant pastiche of Melody) without bringing anything new to the table. Next up: Morning Phase, while not having the highs of Sea Change, is a much more consistent overall album in terms of songwriting (read: the lows aren't as low as Sea Change, nor are the highs as high). One Foot in the Grave is a lofi, indie folk classic. It's like the goofy, stoner version of Will Oldham's And Now I See a Darkness. Western Harvest by Moonlight: Googling it now says this was an EP, but at 12 songs, the only EP thing about this is the fact it was a 10" vinyl versus the standard 12." I'm counting this as an album. Guero and The Information both have good songs, but just feel like they have too much filler to rate highly for me. Plus, they just feel like the same album. Last one I really want to talk about is Midnite Vultures: this just should not have happened. There's too much going on in that record, and the songwriting is generally sub par. I'm amazed so many people have it rated so highly (and I loved all the live versions of Debra I'd heard on the various tours and performances before that album). Even Beck seems to wish he could take that one back based on what he's said in some recent interviews. So my list (top 3 is easy): 1. Odelay (how anyone can dispute this is beyond me) 2. Modern Guilt (late career classic) 3. One Foot in the Grave This is where it gets hard to rank things (each is pretty good): 4. Mellow Gold 5. Morning Phase 6. Mutations 7. Sea Change And where the albums fall out of the "pretty good" range, but where each still has some good moments: 8. Guero 9. The Information 10. Stereopathetic Soul Manure And the stuff I just can't stomach to listen to in any meaningful way: 11. Midnite Vultures 12. Golden Feelings 13. Western Harvest by Moonlight (own this one on vinyl with the 1st pressing finger painting) Some good non-album tracks (in no effort to order them, just going through my iTunes): 1. Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes 2. Feather in Your Cap (from Suburbia Soundtrack) 3. It's All in Your Mind (original version from the One Foot in Grave Japanese version/deluxe edition) 4. Electric Version and the Summer People (Japanese "Mutations" version not the New Pollution Single one) 5. I Won't Be Long 6. Timebomb 7. Deadweight 8. I Only Have Eyes For You (pretty true to the original cover, but that in and of itself is a bit surprising) 9. Jon Spencer Blues Exposion w/ Beck: Flavor Pt. 2 (w/ Mario C. of Beasie Boys fame - this is from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Experimental Remixes EP)
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February 20, 2015 on Stereopathetic Soulmanure (1994)
Bit depth in audio relates only to the dynamic range (i.e. the difference between the absolute quietest and loudest parts of audio). 16bit audio has a dynamic range of 96db, and 24bit audio has a dynamic range of 144db. Being that the ambient noise in a quiet room in your house will be around 45db, 16bit already offers more than twice the dynamic than needed (unless you plan on listening to music at 141db's in your house, at which point that 16bit noise floor can become a factor). Now, that's indoors. You'd need far less dynamic range if you were outdoors. Then factor in the idea that most mastered commercial rock/pop/hip-hop/country music has about 9dbs of dynamic range or less, and you see that 16bit already has way more dynamic range than you need in a music playback format. Vinyl? The noise floor is even higher. Now, there's reasons why 24bit works better for recording, and that's because you're adding a lot of signals together, in addition to all the signal processing that happens while mixing. That's why audio engineers almost all record at 24bit. But for playback, it's not necessary. Does more dynamic range hurt? Nope. Will you hear a difference in ANY real world scenario? Absolutely not. Perhaps even more important than bit depth is the "sampling rate." CD's have a sampling rate of 44.1khz, ADAT and some DVD audio is 48khz, high res formats are considered double that (either 88.1khz, 96khz, or even 196khz). Due to the nyquist frequency, the highest frequency that can be produced in digital audio is one-half the sampling rate. So a CD can produce frequencies as high as 22.05khz. Human hearing tops out at 20khz in a healthy child, and decreases over time. It's normal for people in their 30's to not be able to hear frequencies about 15khz. What does that last paragraph mean? CD's can produce frequencies close to, but still above the audible range. A higher sampling rate would allow for higher frequencies, but guess what? You're receiver/amp, speakers, headphones, aren't designed to playback frequencies above 20khz either. So why does vinyl/analog/pono/hi-res sound better? The short version: it's the mastering. Music that's loud is perceived by humans as sounding better than the same music at a lower volume. Labels figured this out and started demanding louder masters. CD disc changers with random modes, contributed to the problem, and so did MP3s after that. If you're a band or label, you might not want your music not sounding as "in your face" or as loud as someone else's music, so to get the music louder, mastering engineers need to compress the dynamic range. With vinyl, you just can't get that loud, so masters are less compressed. With Pono or HD-Tracks or whatever, fans are specifically looking for audiophile quality, so the masters also aren't as loud. If you want better sounding music, ask for better sounding masters. In a perfect world, you'd buy an album and get a compressed mix for on the go listening, and a less compressed mix for listening at home.
+9 |
January 30, 2015 on It Sure Seems Like Neil Young’s Pono Player Is Bullshit
Mic technique: 1. Sing directly INTO the microphone (not the side, not over the top of it) 2. Get the mic closer when you sing quieter 3. Hold the mic further away when you're singing loudly 4. Practice and repeat For all young singers out there.
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January 9, 2015 on Watch Foxygen Impress The Hell Out Of David Letterman
There's a lot of cool stuff going on in audio software development. Chris Randall (of Sister Machine Gun) has a plugin company called Audio Damage that does some cool stuff. Here's a blog post explaining how he was experimenting with using the fully mapped brain of a namatode worm as a musical instrument: http://analogindustries.com/b1888/Movin+Right+Along/ Here's a similarly "experimental" instrument they put out using a neural sequencer: http://www.audiodamage.com/instruments/product.php?pid=AD026 And here's an effect where something resembling bacterial growth in a petri dish is used to generate random-ish effects: http://www.audiodamage.com/effects/product.php?pid=AD020 Here's another company doing a cool take on sound creation with a synth whose sounds come from the types of seeds you plant: http://soniccharge.com/synplant Those are just a few examples that came to mind off the top of my head. I bring this up not just to plug cool companies, but rather to point out that when you say "Nobody else thinks like this," that there are in fact other people out there doing similar, strange things with music. Even Brian Eno and Radiohead of some iOS apps out there that do interesting, randomized things with user input.
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December 30, 2014 on Aphex Twin Answers Questions From Caribou, Nicolas Jaar, Skrillex; Says He’s Developing Mutant Music Software
Just a friendly correction: " It’s also the first they’ve ever made with outside producers; they started out with longtime industry pro Joe Chiccarelli and finished up with the much-celebrated Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev collaborator Dave Fridmann in Fridmann’s upstate New York studio. " Mike McCarthy produced every spoon album from Girls Can Tell to Ga Ga Ga. In addition, Jon Brion produced The Underdog from Ga Ga Ga. If you listen to those records versus Transference (which was self produced) you hear McCarthy's influence in the overall bigger sound and tighter production.
+2 |
June 5, 2014 on Hear Spoon Preview New Album They Want My Soul, Watch Them Play “Rainy Taxi” In London
"Some people will hear that and say ’Oh, Jack White thinks he’s the first person to play the blues.’ But certain acts open up a market for a certain style...The White Stripes did the same thing, and in our absence, you’re gonna find someone to fill that." So, like how White Stripes filled the void created by the absence of Led Zeppelin?
+12 |
May 30, 2014 on Jack White Calls Black Keys “Watered-Down” White Stripes, Later Apologizes
I strongly suspect Imagine isn't on this list because it's NOT one of his 10 best solo songs, but rather because of the cultural baggage the song carries. Can anyone seriously tell me that if aliens landed on Earth, and loved rock and roll and pop music, hearing John Lennon's catalog for the first time, that Imagine wouldn't be a standout track? I'm not saying it's without question his best song, though I think the consensus among the entire free-world would be that it is, I'd put Jealous Guy there, but it certainly belongs in the top 10. Had it not been the cultural phenom that it was, I'm certain it would have been on this list. Tracks on this list that "Imagine" is without question better than: Cold Turkey - Non-melodic, and overly literal. A poor man's Yer Blues. Doesn't belong on the list at all. I Found Out - The author really loves John Lennon's poor attempts at bluesy rock songs. The highlight of this song is the "I, I found out" refrain. Want a better example of the same type of song from the same album? Listen to "Remember," which is essentially the same kind of proto-Spoon song, and a better one at that. Bless You - This seems like a desperate attempt not to weight this list too heavily towards the 69-70's era. I'm sorry, this is a mediocre tune at best. Some good instrumental moments, but the song itself is sub-par. Just imagine John Lennon playing this solo acoustic. You'd be bored to tears. Working Class Hero - Wouldn't be in my top 15. Again, non-melodic and overly-literal. On what planet is this a better song than Imagine? And if Imagine's lyrics are silly, then what about the 8th grade angry young man poetry that makes up these lyrics? None of those belong on this list. However, here's a list of tracks that do belong on this list: Love Oh My Love Remember Whatever Gets You Through The Night Mind Games Beautiful Boy
+1 |
May 15, 2014 on The 10 Best John Lennon Songs
Kinks? Start with Village Green Preservation Society, then check out Something Else by the Kinks, Face to Face, Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), Lola vs. the Powerman, and Muswell Hillbillies. You may even need to throw in a "Singles Collection" of some sort to round out some earlier hits and non-album singles.
+2 |
April 4, 2014 on The 10 Best Nirvana Songs
Just want to add that they've been running that on Comedy Central during the Daily Show.
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December 20, 2013 on Beastie Boys File Lawsuit Against Toy Company GoldieBlox
So no Beastie Boys songs in commercials...how is this ok then? http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/jy70u7/broad-city-ch-check-out-abbi-and-ilana
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December 20, 2013 on Beastie Boys File Lawsuit Against Toy Company GoldieBlox
I hope Peter Katis not being behind the boards for most of these mixes doesn't work to the album's detriment. He's got a phenomenal sound that has worked really well with that band for the last 3 albums. High Violet is such a dark mix, with almost no high end, and it sounds all the more fantastic for the lack of treble. Those mixes served those songs perfectly. And there's certainly nothing negative anyone can say about the sound of Boxer either... I have some reservations about the change in production duties, but I'm still psyched for a new National album. They've been one of my favorite bands of the last several years.
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March 21, 2013 on The National Trouble Will Find Me Details
In Rainbows doesn't have a bad track on it, and features some of Radiohead's best songwriting, best performances, and best engineering (it's a great sounding record). Can't understand how anyone would rate that so low. Meanwhile, Hail To The Thief has great moments, but sounds disjointed on the whole, and like a band not knowing what to do with itself. That one would definitely have benefited from fewer tracks and a shorter running time. 1. Kid A 2. In Rainbows 3. OK Computer 4. The Bends 5. King of Limbs 6. Hail To The Thief 7. Amnesiac 8. Pablo Honey
+1 |
October 27, 2012 on Radiohead Albums From Worst To Best
Forgot all about that great video (I probably haven't seen it in 10 years), thanks for that!
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September 25, 2012 on Sea Change Turns 10