Monday, April 29, 2013

Update on it all

So, I recently blew up my computer.  Well not really.  It was starting to crash and I had no choice but to get a new one.  That plus a random work schedule messed up some of my time to write and listen.  My apologies to everyone.  Or mostly to me, since I seem to be the only reader of this.  Now that I have a new computer, I was forced to get a new version of I-tunes.  It sucks balls big time.  First off, I can't minimize the screen and set up my albums the way I wanted.  Secondly, whenever I am looking through my albums, it automatically sets up the playlist right underneath what ever album is highlighted, even if I don't want to listen to that album. Dear I-tunes, stop fucking with a program that works great.  That or let the user have to option if they like the older version.  Holy shit, I just became my father.

In the absence of my music collection, I was forced to listen to a lot of crap. Oh thank god for the return of my collection. I vow to honor my unwritten commitment to myself to write all of these reviews.  I realize the length of time it would take to write them all since I keep adding more and more music daily, but I will write as much as I can daily.  If it is multiple reviews, then it will be.  Tomorrow we start with a new album and continue from there.

Welcome back to my journey.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A is for Adele "19"

Sorry for the delay in writing.  Work has been a little crazy for my life schedule, which means I needed an excuse for being extremely lazy in my personal journey.  I feel like the hare who decided to take a nap instead of just finishing the race.  The sad part is that I am finding more of myself reflected within this task than I thought I would.  The introspection and inspection, but also the lack on undivided attention.  Oh well.

The next album on my list is Adele's "19."  The hard part of trying to write about an album that almost everyone has heard is writing about an album that almost everyone has heard.  Whether it be the whole thing or just a couple tracks, I'm sure everyone knows about this album.  This and the next album.  I'm not really going to go too into this album by the tracks because, well, I don't feel like it. (Plus, I won't really add any tracks, because well, I'm sure you've heard them).

I will tell you what I think about it, though.  I remember when this came out.  There was that sudden burst of euro-blues, which means that a bunch of Brits tried to capture the sound of American r&b, but just couldn't quite pull it off.  The main reason they can't is because they don't know what it's like to live rural American hard times.  While I'm sure that Brits get the blues, they just don't get what the hard times we have are like.  They listen to the sounds, the styles, and the records, but they don't know the source.  What it's like to live in the middle of nowhere Missouri or the life of Mississippi Delta blacks or Southern mountain folks with super small roots.  What is sad is that the Brits love our rooted music more than we do.  They practice the sounds and perfect the notes, but they don't truly embrace the soul.  We love the sounds they make and buy their albums by the crate full, but we don't appreciate the people in our own backyards making the same music.  That is the British way.  You take the best from the rest of the world, while telling everyone they are lesser than you for it.  Have you ever heard real, authentic British music?  Really, have you?  Seriously think about it for a moment.

Name any great true British band.  Beatles?  American R&B.  Rolling Stones?  Led Zeppelin?  The Who?  The Police?  Nope.  Nada.  No way. Uh-uh.  Here in the states we have created all the sounds that everyone else wants.  Let's see.  Jazz is the truest American form of music.  It's roots come from Scott Joplin and ragtime, the original American music.  While country comes from mountain music which comes from old style European music, you can not name one foreign country musician.  Rock and Roll is ours, thanks to Chuck Berry.  R&B comes from gospel music, while also having roots in Delta Blues music.  Rap music from  R&B and one of the fastest growing styles of music for foreign countries.  I've heard German, French, Asian hip hop.  Never before there was rap were there foreign rappers.  Just saying.  The majority of the worlds music has major roots here in the states.  I mean shit, even parts of disco and techno come from here.  While the Euros might have started the major djing of it, they still used American records to make the desired beats.

This is not what I truly feel about Adele's music in all, but I know where the roots are.  Not to say she doesn't blossom all her own, because she does.  I never truly listened to this album until last night.  I was, and am still, amazed at it.  Not because of her range (which is incredible), but because I was expecting something different for a debut album.  Usually when a female singer debuts, there is more heartbreak and drama or the flip side, nothing but love and sugar.  This album has little of both.  This album is honest.  It is about her life, but not exaggerated for sales.  There is no dark side to her on "19."  Like I said, it's honest.

I also like the variety.  She uses the mellowness of soul music, while also finding great ways to showcase a 70's style r&b.  I like the piano and organ usage throughout the album.  It shows an appreciation for the roots of her style without trying to over do it.  There isn't a lot I feel I can really say about the album that hasn't already been said.  I like the album, but I would have to be in a certain mood in order to really listen to it.  I'm not going through a breakup or in love, so the album doesn't have a specific fit for my life right now.  For me, it's more of a mellow chilled out album that shows how beautiful music can be, if we truly allow it to be just that, music.

Next: Adele "21" - like you haven't heard this one.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A is for Acid House Kings "Music Sounds Much Better With You

Okay, so here's the deal.  I listened to this for the first time while cleaning my bathroom today.  I think I might still be high from the bleach/cleaner fumes because the fan doesn't work.  I'm not knocked out loopy, but the ventilation sucks.  Upon starting the music, I was wondering about how the album would sound.  I can't remember what lead me to get it.  I don't know if I saw it on Pitchfork or a song was played during a TV show I like.  Whatever the case, this is my impression of the album.

First - DO NOT CALL YOURSELVES "ACID HOUSE KINGS" IF YOU DON'T PLAY ELECTRO!!!  Sorry, for yelling but I just had to say it.  You can't be a pop band and call yourself a techno band name.  I mean, for reals, "acid house?"  You couldn't come up with something better?  Would you listen to a pop band named "Whore Beater?"  Well, you say you don't but I say you listen to Chris Brown, so...Face!!  You wouldn't listen to a christian rock group called "Whitey is Rightey?"  No, you wouldn't because you would assume with a title like that it would be a hate rock band.  I'm just saying, the band name is way off base.

Secondly - It is a pop rock album.  The band started in the early 90s, but this albums music follows in the footsteps of Camera Obscura, a little bit of Phoenix, and others similar.  Not to say it's a bad theme to follow, but there seems to be little variation in some of the originality.  The band is pretty decent. I wouldn't say I would run to see them, but I could see their music being used in a tv show/movie to help set the light-hearted mood.  I'm not a big "pop" fan, but I'm sure we'll see more in the future.

As for the album, it's not too bad.  The arrangements seem pretty standard, but the band finds a way to provide some shine of it's own.  The lead female vocal, Julia Lannerheim, has a wonderfully soothing voice.  You find yourself being relaxed and calmed throughout the album.  The problem that I have the whole time I listen to her voice it that I keep thinking of a different singer or band.  I just can't put my finger on who it is.  That's the problem with pop bands, you find yourself reminded of others more than focusing on the present band.  Whether it's the lead from Camera Obscura or Regina Spektor, I'm not sure.

The album starts with "Are We Lovers or Are We Friends."  I don't know if this is the world's introduction to the friendzone anthem or not, but it should be.  The only problem with this question is that you know, you just don't want to accept the answer.  It has a Rooney-esc sound, which is pretty nice.  It's very catchy and I kind of like it.  "Windshield" follows and keeps up with the tradition of late 2000s pop sound.  For me there isn't much of a highlight to this, "Would You Say Stop," or "Under Water."

The song that I actually enjoy the most is "(I'm in a) Chorus Line."  It reminds me of a song I know, but I like that this separates itself from it.  I'm attracted to the catchiness of the piano keys and the periodic flute(?).  The lyrics are simple and poetic.  They come across with a nice range and are sung beautifully.

"There is Something Beautiful," comes a couple tracks down and starts with a hope but does not come through the way I thought it would.  With more focus on the vocals at the beginning, I thought, maybe prayed a bit, for a mellower "rough relationship" song.  Instead, the drums start and pick up the up tempo of the beat.  Dammit.

All in all, I should have paid more attention to the album title more than the band name.  "Music Sounds Much Better With You" should have been more of a give away than anything else.  While a whole album of the same sound is very aggravating, I actually liked one or two tracks.  I don't know when I will ever really listen to this again.  I do know that if I am in the mood for pop music, I can always throw this on, or at least make a mix tape with it involved.

ps- just make sure you have a better band name, please.

Next: Adele "19" - (I know)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A is for Aceyalone 'Magnificent City"

The last album in our journey of Aceyalone ends with "Magnificent City."  It's not his latest album nor is it the follow up to "Book of Human Language."  This is the only one of his albums I actually own on CD.  I don't remember when I got this album, but I feel that I was pulled to the album cover more than anything else and that was why I bought it.  Sometimes you strike gold when you search just by artwork.  Sometimes you get straight hot garbage.

The album starts with "All For U" and does a nice job of mixing both his jazz beats and scratching into the beat.  The lyrics "It took me a long while to master the art" might be more of an understatement rather than humbleness.  The guy has mastered this art for quite some time, but he has received little acclaim.  "I am what I am, but that ain't all I can be."  Sometimes when people wax poetic, you don't realize the Taoist/Yoda wisdom that you hear.  Luckily for all of us, not only does Aceyalone perform for us, but he helps heal us just a bit.  "Fire" starts just like it should, sounding like an old-school Earth, Wind, and Fire track.  The old school 70s sound is a nice change from his standard jazz beats.  The lyrics on the track are smooth and I love that about it.  Maybe it's the production by RJD2 that is making a bit of the difference on this album, but it is a good change from his past.  Once again, "Fire" provides you with the wisdom of you mother and the sage older uncle from you family.  "Love life, let it love you back." (just so you know, I'm the sage uncle in my family)

"Cornbread, Eddie, and Me" starts out significantly harder than any other track that Aceyalone has done in my opinion.  The problem is that whenever I read this title, I automatically think of Lawrence Fishburn's first movie, "Cornbread Earl and Me."  Even though they aren't related, the track always makes me think of the movie.  Maybe it's a song about the streets and life accordingly, but I couldn't tell you cause I'm always distracted when I hear the song.  "Mooore" returns us to RJD2's beats.  It is "electronic" and elongated.  The rhyme is thus drawn out as well.  Acey finds his way to slow down himself just enough that when the song is finished you want exactly just what has been provided, more.  I love the beat on this track and the compatability of Acey on the track.

"Supahero" starts out like the anticlimactic scene in a hero movie.  It's slow building, giving the listener the moment to be drawn in.  You know that the action is about to start, but you don't know when.  You can feel the energy building and then, boom, it hits. The only thing is that RJD2 doesn't hit you hard, he gives you a couple of soft blows here and there.  Acey starts a little light as well, but then he hits you hard with a smooth flow.  He preaches about where superman ain't, telling you that "he's your star, but you're looking for a supahero."  Kind of a lesson for everyone out there to understand that when you look past everything for a superhero, you're going to miss the stars in your life.  "You need a star in your life/not in your dreams."  If there was ever a verse that made every "friendzoned" guy feel like someone was talking for them, this is it.  Well done, sir.  "Highlights" is well, a song about weed.  All sorts of weed.  Aceyalone names all the street names for all kinds of weed.  Then he provides a diatribe about the government and the benefits of medical marijuana, plus numerous pop culture names.  It's a chilled out track that takes its form from the subject matter.

The album kicks up the beat with "Disconnected."  The horns come in a little harder and the drums provided the tension that the lyrics vent.  Outside of the reference to shoot for the moon and land among the stars (which I hate), Aceyalone explains how we all feel disconnected.  Not in a manner of technology, but in our minds.  The thing that makes us special is also the thing that makes stand out.  That sometimes also makes us socially "disconnected" from the "mainstream" ideas.  It's a solid track, but sometimes the preaching gets a little long.

"Some birds don't deserve to be caged/They gotta fly away and search for the waves/Being locked up is worse than the grave" is how "Caged Birds" begins.  After the mellow beginning, the Christmas bells start up and RJD2 turns up the speed of the beat.  Acey does a nice job on the track, and it is a nice change from "Disconnected."  Following this track is a "story" song.  "Solomon Jones" reminds me more of a Phish song than a hip hop song.  If you've ever heard the "Junta" album by Phish, then you mind understand where the reference comes from.  Both DJ and MC do a great job of transporting you to a smokey dive bar in the back alley of a random town you've never been to.  It's a perfect change of pace and I love when artist are comfortable enough with themselves to put tracks like this out.  If the smokey haze of "Solomon Jones" gets you all times of mellow, then "A Sunday Mystery" will put you straight onto your couch and relax everything within you.  You see, this track is an interlude.  While old school emcees would have their DJ do a scratch and mix for a couple minutes on their albums, new school cats are afraid to put anything that doesn't have words out.  It is nice to get a moments reprieve when listening to any album

"Junior" is the story of any kid living today.  Whether it is a story about someone factually or not, it ends up being a true story about city life.  The RJ beats are great.  The flute or woodwinds behind the drums help provide a softness to the track.  In the end of the story, though, you know that Junior is not going to make it.  What a sad shame.  "Heaven ain't got no stairway/Heaven ain't got no ghetto" is the opening for "Heaven."  I find it funny to use a Led Zeppelin verse as well as a Tupac reference.  The track is soft spoken, as if Acey meant to use a muted tone and just speak to us as apposed to his usually flow.  Plus, the guitar samples used by RJ are nice as well.

"Here and Now" starts out with a soft keyboard touch and then harp strings kick it.  It reminds me a lot of Gift of Gab's "4th Dimensional" start.  The nice guitar riffs, reminiscent of 70s, funk is a great addition as well.  I find that I am so attracted to the beats that I miss out the lyrics.  Not to say that they aren't nice, it's just hard for me to not notice the beat each time.  This is a nice mellow track that does what Acey does best, give us advice and preach about lessons for life.  You don't always need the advice, but sometimes it's nice to hear it.

The album closes with "A Beautiful Mine."  Upon first hearing it, I always go "Holy shit" when the opening sample appears.  So here is where I'm going to go crazy on you.  What I love about hip hop are the random samples that you hear and then all you want to do is learn where it comes from.  The samples then become the ultimate gateway into learning both new and more music.  Plus, the added respect you get for DJs and producers becomes more heightened when you look at what the hell it is they are sampling.  For this song, I will give you nothing more that this:  RJD2 uses the sample "Autumn Leaves," by Enoch Light.  You don't know this song until I tell you it is the theme music for Mad Men.  Yes, RJD2 sampled a track that ended up being used for an AMC show.  Here is where it gets even crazier.  Enoch Light did not do the original.  His version is actually a cover.  I'm not sure when his version came out, but I found at least one recording done in 1956 from the album "The Paris I Love."  The original version, that many use as reference, is done by Yves Montand, titled "Les Feuilles Mortes," which technically means "The Dead Leaves."  This is why I love hip hop so much.  Where else are you going to learn about jazz history as well as French music.  Below are all three versions.

I hope you are able to enjoy all of this as much as I do.

Next: Acid House Kings  - "Music Sounds Better With You"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A is for Aceyalone - "The Lost Tapes"

When I was in college long ago, there was a record store down the street from my dorm.  Some days I wonder if it is still there, but I'm sure it is.  What I loved about that store was the availability to buy "live" bootleg albums.  In the business these are mostly refered to as imports because they are usually recorded from live shows done overseas.  When ever I would go into said record store, I would talk to the owner about different types of music and peruse the import section to see what was new.  I have had the pleasure of being able to own a couple of awesome albums, but over time they have ended up lost.

I visited my brother years ago and he took me to meet a friend of his, Travis, so we could hang out and relax.  Travis is one of the main reasons that I have all the music that I own.  We "borrowed" each others music and ever since then I have been amazed at the stuff I am listening to.  One of the albums he lent me was Aceyalone's "Lost Tapes."  Lost Tapes is not a real album that has been released by the artist or the record company.  It is through and through a hodgepodge of different recorded tracks over a period of time.  Some of these tracks are live freestyles from radio stations or tracks that just never got released.  For me, the true highlights of albums like these are the live, on-air radio freestyles. They allow you to hear the instantanious thought process of an artist.Albums like this allow fans to get an insight to the actual ability of the stars.  Usually the only place to find any of these tracks is off of youtube, but at the same time, you would have to know the titles of the tracks because they are never listed anywhere.

The hard part of albums like this is that you truly have to deal with some of the crap that tends to be on them.  Whether its a horrible remix or a track that should never have been done.  Or even worse, a track that has tons of potential but no thought was put into any part of the production.  Overly bassed or too much static feedback are the usual suspects in cases like this.

Aceyalone's "Lost Tapes" is a really decent import.  It opens with another remix of "Mic Check," but we don't need to go into any part of this track.  The second track is called "Perfect Romance" and I really dig it.  The lyrics are well thought out and the beat is solid.  It's a shame that it gets lost onto a tape like this. 

"Double Dose" follows with a Project Blowed track.  Project Blowed is a collaberation between Aceyalone,  his crew Freestyle Fellowship, and many other LA underground emcees. It is a decent track, but nothing to amazing nor devestating. Tracks like this make me a little sad. I think I would rather be completely blown away or disappointed by something than to be left in a blazah blazah state. "The Greatest Show on Earth" follows with a remix by Fat Jack. I actually feel that I've heard this remix on the "All Balls Revisited" album.  The track "OG Crew" is a bit of a misplaced title for me.  When I think of many things "OG," Aceyalone is not one of them.  Plus the manner in which the hook is really mellow, doesn't fit with it as well.  Now, the "Headaches and Woes" remix provides a pretty decent opening beat reminiscent of the early 80s.  I feel that a Afrika Bambata breakdance battle is about to occur with this beat.  It is a nicely done remix, cause the lyrics match up pretty nicely with the slowed down beat.  The next two tracks, "Feet Up on the Table" and "Show Your Right," were released on "All Balls Revisited," so there is no need to discuss them.

"High and Bye" is the next track and it is a shame it never got released anywhere.  It's low key and mellow in the right places.  Now the hook is a little weak, but the beat and lyrics are well done and flow effortlessly.  The album ends with two more radio freestyles and remixes of previously recorded tracks that are decent, but nothing amazing in the reworking.  One of the closing tracks is a highlight for the album because it is an untitled demo track.

One of the hardest things to get a hand on are demo tracks.  These are the tracks that allow you to hear where the pure intensity, integrity, and artistic passion come from.  Before any producer can adjust and tweak an artist into whatever it is you hear now.  Demos are amazing and should always be released.

All in all, I love "import" albums and am happy to have this one.  If you are a fan of music, find your local record store and ask them about imports.  One of the amazing things about imports is that you get little presents wrapped up and ready for you to open.  Like an artist doing a live cover of a song that you never thought they would do.  Sorry there aren't more links with the tracks, but this is a hard one to locate tracks for.

Next album: Aceyalone - "Magnificent City"

Monday, March 4, 2013

A is for Aceyalone - "The Book of Human Language"

Aceyalone - The Book of Human Language

I was first introduced to this album a long time ago by either Newsweek or Time magazine.  All I remember was that they did a list of the 25 greatest hip hop albums of all time.  Now I know that magazines like these tend to have a skewed idea of what hip hop is but I found that I respected their list, mainly because it listed Erik B and Rakim's "Paid In Full" number one.  Also on the list was a random album by a guy I never had heard of named Aceyalone.  The album is "The Book of Human Language."  In the years that I've had it on my i-tunes, I have never listened to it.  Mostly because I'm too busy looking for more new stuff.  I'm a historian, which means I should be better at appreciating the art of the past more and not ignoring it while I dig for the greatness of the future.

Acey starts the album with a low key intro that helps get you calm.  It relaxes you just enough, similar to the manner that you would relax yourself before you sit down to read a book.  It's a perfect start.  It ends with the disclaimer that "this song right here did not make my album, but it's my mfing theme song."  The end beat becomes the beat for...

"Guidelines" is how you start an album.  Effortless is the best way to describe the lyrical flow.  The beat is complete and fluid.  From the start you can feel the growth of the artist and appreciate the time put into the refinement of his skills.  "My attempts to redefine your hip hop guidelines."  As I listen to this, I hope that the album can live up the guidelines.  The use of simile is unbelievable.  I truly applaud this opening track.  Following this track is "Contents," which in essence is a quick interlude in which Acey runs down and names all the tracks for the album.

"Even the matador doesn't pull the bull by the horn."  The opening verse for "The Balance," is very much a yin-yang story.  For every positive, he gives the balanced negative.   What I love about this track is the smoothness of everything.  I love the congo/bongo drums used for the background beat.  I grew up listening to go-go music from the DC area, so I love the drums.  Plus, the intricate piano usage at the end to help finish the song is nicely done.  Right away you can tell that this album was given a true and honest use of time and effort.

Two things about "The Energy."  First, I love how the track finishes with the title of the following track and jumps right into it.  Secondly, this track is everything I love about hip hop.  It starts with a beat that reminds me of a Jeru the Damaja track.  Then the lyrics begin, and more importantly, they don't end until the track finishes.  That is true lyricism.  Throw in the fact that the beat stops and begins at different times while Aceyalone keeps on pushing.  This shows his energy and it is full and flowing.

(all I could find was this live version.)
"The Hurt" is given a tough task and that is following "The Energy."  I don't really feel that it has matched the majority of the album so far, mostly because it continues his usage of slam poetry mcing.  The opening of "The Hold" is pretty nice.  I like the use of snare drums in beats and a solid bass string.  "The Hold" is a lesson of what happens when we hold on too tight as well as the benefit of letting go of the things we hold onto.  "No matter what my opinion is, it's all strenuous."  This track is one of those lessons about life that everyone wants to give us, but we can never learn unless we go through it.  I really like the beat for this track.  "The Wall & Window" title reminds me of a totally different song by someone else.  "The walls have ears, the windows have eyes, and a dead man tells no lies."  A creepy way to start a track only to be followed by an ominous beat is how this track begins.  Acey gives us the story of everything that walls and windows have done, literally.  Giving reference to the Berlin Wall and how eyes are the "windows" into the soul.  The amazing thing about Aceyalone on this track, and throughout, is his ability to take the literal meaning of the title and give you every single possible reference to said words.

"The Jabberwocky" meets us just about halfway.  It is a deep voiced story about the Jabberwocky.  It sounds similar to Jeru the Damaja's character "Ignorance" from the track "You Can't Stop the Prophet."  The album so far could have done without this little interlude.

The voice actually provides the intro to a strongly beat drum for "The Grandfather Clock."  The lyrics remind us that man can do all he can to control the world, but the time and tide waits for no man.  "Tick tock, my grandfather clock goes..."  The beat reminds me of a metronome beating on time to let you know that you are off beat.  I like the somewhat Poeish darkness of this track.

"The Reason" helps lighten the mood from the previous tracks.  With an old school organ and horns sound playing in the background, this might be the one time I'm happy to hear a spoken word track.  Nicely done, my friend, nicely done.  "I was born!!" helps us welcome in "The March."  It is a track about marching against others and deciding who you would march for.  "The Vision" gives us another poetry slam verse about life and what Aceyalone sees.  The clarinet, I think, is a nice addition to the beat as well.

While I listen to this, I realize certain things.  First, this album is a true lesson on how to use the human language.  It reminds me of a book about the history of the English language.  Aceyalone provides a graduate school lesson on it and there are very few that will ever understand everything that he says.  Secondly, whoever listed this album as a top 25 all time deserves to have drinks bought for them for the rest of their lives.  This album is unbelievable.  I still have 5 tracks to listen to but feel that I can not do it justice to explain anything left.

This album should be owned by anyone who says they love hip hop.  If you have never owned Raekwon's seminal masterpiece "Only Built For Cuban Linx," or The Purple Tape, then don't talk to me about hip hop.  Now, I can add a secondary argument.  If you have never heard "The Book of Human Language," then never talk to me about how dope an emcee is.

It is a shame that this album doesn't get the true respect it deserves.  Maybe that might be why it is a masterpiece. To never be understood in your time, but to be a lasting influence on the lives of others for many generations is a goal very few can accomplish.  If you are an aspiring emcee and you want to understand how depth and creativity and genius all can live together in one individual in one album, then "The Book of Human Language" is the first "book" you should read.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A is for Aceyalone "All Balls Revisited"

Aceyalone "All Balls Revisited"
(click on some of the track titles to be transported to the videos for them)

So, Aceyalone made a follow up album of his "All Balls Don't Bounce."  It is actually more of a release of all the other tracks that he didn't use on the debut album.  It includes four remixes of tracks from the original album as well.  This is pretty ingenious since many artist find that a good number of their material is not deemed "good enough" for album releases.  The album actually comes with two intros.  The "All Balls Intro" is more of an announcement about the purpose of the album while "Universal Soldier" is a low key intro to the album.

Throw in the fact of the "live" intro to "Headaches and Woes," the album actually starts with three intros.  The first real track is a remix of "Headaches and Woes."  While the original is loaded with xylophones and jazz drums, the remix is decidedly slower.  The jazz and xyloplone notes are replaced with horns and elongated chill vocals.  As the original felt more upbeat, this has a feel of "anger" but not emotional anger.  Like someone yelling at you without them raising their voice, the remix is well done.  The key to any remix is a focus on making a completely different track while trying to retain attention on the story.

"The Greatest Show on Earth" remix follows next.  The original comes across like a poetry slam accompanied by a live dive bar jazz band.  Beatniks hang out in the dark corners smoking their cigarettes, sipping cocktails, and snapping fingers while a low light illuminates the corners of the stage while the song plays.  The remix comes faster, but not with an overbearing crazy speed.  The drums are more focused and you can hear the scratch being used in the song.  It's a lost art, scratching in a song, and it is a pleasure to hear it again.  Like the remix before, this track finds a way to erase the original notion of the track while creating an equally beautiful track.

"Mic Check" is remixed for the track.   The original is a distinctly late 80s/early 90s style.  It makes me think a little bit of a Teddy Riley beat, but only when the horn comes in during the chorus.  This remix follows more of a Lords of the Underground sound.  You hear the needle jumping on the record, providing you with that hiss sound that tells you the album is over or your neddle is dirty.  You hear the drums come in with a dark ominous sound.  It's like you know that something is coming, but you don't know what it is.  You feel the presence of something looming.  You look for it and can't find it.

After these first "four" tracks, the album actually provides what was proclaimed from the beginning, original tracks omitted from "All Balls Don't Bounce."  The track "Show Your Right," sounds very early/mid 90s non-mainstream California sound.  I hear elements of Too Short in the lyrical delivery and I like it.  Not because it's unoriginal for Aceyalone's style, but because I hear range.  In comparison to other tracks he has done, this stands out because it is no where close to the style I know.  "The Nobodys" comes in nicely next.  With a solid drum, keyboard, and horn intro, the song track comes smooth and correct.  If you want to make a track you jazz sounds correctly without sounding like a beatnik, then this is how you do it.  It's hard for me to focus on the lyrics because I love this beat.  The song is also a lesson for life because he tells us that we should never let "nobody" tell us shit.  This track should have been on the debut album and it is a shame that it wasn't.  This would have shown the range in lyrics and beats that would have astounded many.

"They Don't Know."  I feel that either his producer or a friend does the verbal intro.  I could have done without it.  Then the piano starts.  You know how I feel about pianos.  Always a winner.  Then the horns arrive with the same note performance.  Smooth and complete.  Then it changes to a modern jazz joint.  If Aceyalone was standing in front of a crowd with a tux on performing with a live band, ala Cab Calloway, then this track would be the one he would do.  This is not a hip hop/rap track.  This is a jazz joint.  I love it.  It doesn't really compliment his other works, but I feel that it shows roots and influence.  Like the way that Guru did the Jazzmatazz albums, Aceyalone could have made a successful series of albums done in this way.  It's a shame, but I feel that I am a better man for having heard it.  I guess nobody knew about his true talents.

When "Feet Up on the Table" started, I thought I heard a voice or two I knew.  Now I know that neither Del the Funky Homosapien nor The Pharcyde are on this track, but that was my first feeling.  The beat makes me think of Pharcyde a lot, as does the rhyming style but it turns out that it's cats from his crew.  If you know who Pharcyde is then you will understand what it is that I hear.  It's a nice track that shows Aceyalone's ability to contribute to "current" styles.  Plus, a crew song is a hard thing to pull of, but this one does a good job.

"Tweakendz" follows up with the same mentality of a "current" song.  The beat reminds me of an old 80s beat but I just can't put my finger on it.  The track follows the tradition of hip hop's "weekend" story.  It's nowhere close to either Ice T or Ice Cube's weekend tracks.  Big props for the MC Shan sample.  "If your girl's out of place."  No all I can think about with this track is early 80s hip hop.  Throw in the elongated "Now I was," which is how Kool Moe Dee used to start tracks and I really miss 80s hip hop.  It was smart of them to not use this track because all I feel is nostalgia for old school rap.

"I Dream" is the second to last track.  It's a decent track but does not sound natural to Aceyalone's style.  I think the beat is nice, but could have been used better.  Honestly, I find the track a little weak.  The closing track finds us reunited a bit with Acey's use of jazz as an honest back beat.  It too is a lesson song.  Closing with the track "Belive in Yourself," he tells us what we should be doing while explaining what he did.  The chorus is a little weak and the sample should be more of a focus.  It could have worked on his debut album, but I like it here as well.  "You can't hide cause you're not Dr. Jekyll/but you can come out shining like a new nickel."  I like that.  Well played sir, well played.

I think this album is decent, but for a "remix/reissue" album it does it's job.  It's good to see his range and variety, but at the same time it is nice to understand why I appreciate him the way I do.  I know that the next album is an all-time great.  I don't know what to anticipate nor do I want to.  I hope to be blown away, but I hope that I get blown away by it ALL.  That has yet to happen, but I believe it will.

Next:  Aceyalone "A Book of Human Language"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A is for Aceyalone - "All Balls Don't Bounce"

Aceyalone - All Balls Don't Bounce

So after writing about Abstract Tribe Unique's "Mood Pieces," I find myself kind of excited to review Aceyalone's first album, "All Balls Don't Bounce."  I guess you could say that Acey might be the "founder" of a specific type of rhyming and sound that came out of LA in the mid to late '90s.  All Balls was released in 1995.  It is not the origin of jazz-infused hip hop, but to me he kinda is.

The album is pretty decent for a debut release.  First off, I appreciate the variation of beats, message, sound, etc, that is prevalent throughout the album.  There are distinct tracks that have a pure jazz, spoken word sound.  Then there are others that have a little bit harder driven beat. On the track "Knownots," you can hear both sounds at the same time.  This shows me that there is an appreciation to the art while at the same time being honest to self.

The majority of the tracks have a focus on the horns found in jazz samples.  There is little use of the bass strings and drums, but on "Arhythamaticulas," you get that use. On "The Greatest Show on Earth," you get the bass lines and what sounds like an xylophone.  Never do you hear that on a track.  But at the same time, you get the overly styled poetry slam emceeing that I personally find a bit repetitive.  "Mic Check" might be the most "commercialized" style of a track on the album.  Between the snares and faster tempo of the drums, I hear to me what sounds a little like a Beastie Boys style track, if they were from the left coast.  It's nice to hear a completely different sound from Aceyalone.  Following "Mic Check," you get privileged to a sound that you don't find on albums these days, that is, a dj mixing for a quick minute to give the listeners a rest. 

(straight from the 90s in sooo many ways)
"Headache and Woes," is a nice in between to the poetry slam emceeing and the "we need a song for the masses" track that maybe "Mic Check" might be.  While the second verbage is not accurate, I don't know a better way to word it.  My apologizes.  What I like about "Headache and Woes" is 1) more xylophone usage, 2) solid bass line, and 3) a track with a solid story.  "With a head full of headaches/a heart that's full of woes/I'm constantly singing them down home blues/and not many peoples know/that leaves me with a twisted view of the whole world as I know it/and I guess I got no choice but to be a poet."  What a wonderfully worded verse.  This song is solid in more ways that I can ever really explain, but I really like it.  The downside to the track, is that the end of it tapers off to a moment of "dead air" and then followed by a quick poem with the bebop jazz background.  It should have been left off or separated as a quick intermission track.  "I Think" is a quick hitter of a track that starts off solidly with a bit of an old-school blaxploitation sound and then is over.  I wish that there was more to this track than any other.

While he flows at times slowly, I love the effortlessness of his vocals. He can speed up at anytime, but never lose the focus of the words he is professing.  Plus, you are always aware of what he is saying every time he speaks.

I thoroughly enjoy this album, but it is not an eye-opening, jaw dropping rookie album that I think I was slightly expecting.  It might come from being stuck in that time period when hip hop was changing rapidly in both sound and purpose.  That is, the mid 90s were not kind to artists who could adapt and produce quickly.  Aceyalone will always get his respect from "heads" who know the music.  I wish he would get more love, but hopefully we can see his growth on the next couple of albums.  I can't guarantee when I will listen to this again, but I know that if I were to make a mix tape there are tracks from this album I would use.  Plus, if anyone wanted a lesson on how to transpose jazz, poetry, and effortless lyricism into hip hop then this is always to be included into the circulum.

Next: Aceyalone's "All Balls Revisited"

A is for Abstract Tribe Unique "Mood Pieces"

Sorry for the absence, but today will feature a couple of albums.  So for beginners, here is Tuesdays.

Abstract Tribe Unique - Mood Pieces

Released in 1997, Abstract Rude released the album "Mood Pieces" with the help of his producer Fat Jack.  I listened to this album Monday night while trying to figure out what I was going to say about it.  On Tuesday night after work, instead of sitting down and focusing, I went to a nearby chill spot, Soul Gastrolounge.  Each Tuesday, they have a funk and soul night done by two guys I've gotten to know, Brad Pressley and Shanti Love Moore.  If you are ever in Charlotte, then you need to make this one of your official stops.  These guys play dope old school funk and soul.  It's a chill, chill night and that is why I always go.  While there, I was discussing this blog with Brad and talking to him about this album.

In our discussion about music and life, I told him about this album and what frustrates me about it.  During the late 90s, there were many artist emerging from the west coast that had a completely different influence than many Northerners.  The largest being laid back jazz.  The greatest example for the old heads would be listening to Digable Planets.  While they aren't really west coast, their sound soon became embodied by many cats from the left coast.  In listening to this album, this is what I hear predominately throughout.  While talking with Brad, I also found that one of the things that this album presents to me is a constant feel of a spoken word poetry slam with a background beat.  While a specific number of tracks done in this form is genius, a whole album of it is very tiresome.  The best way I can describe this (for you jazz fans) is that when you hear a jazz album, you do not want hear the same beat production for each jam.

Mood Pieces is a decent album.  I respect where Abstract Rude comes from.  He is presented the counter to the 90s West Coast music theme, that is, the "gansta" rap sound.  He is socially conscious and trying to find a way to enlighten his peers and listeners.  I can hear also the influence he has provided for other cats who have followed over the last decade.  While I appreciate it, I just find the album to be too mellow.  It's not that the album needs a heavy hitter or club banger, that's not his style.  What it needs is a change of tempo.  Something just slightly faster to help prevent lulling to sleep the listener.  That being said, if I were trying to teach someone about the awesome variety of music and what it can truly say, then I would have them listen to this album.  While the current form of music is more of a manufactured, factory sound, there is always the sound of reality out there.  That is what Abstract Tribe Unique presents.  I recall in my college years listening to "different," non-radio hip hop.  I was amazed by my personal enlightenment.  This is was ATU does for music.  They provide the enlightenment that people need.

There are many who don't appreciate hip-hop because all they know is the media story, movie life, radio played versions of it.  If they found the time to listen to what is just below the surface, then they would find the beauty of what hip hop is and can be.  While I know that maybe writing a review of this album should have been the focus, it is hard for me to listen to this album and not get emotional about two types of music I love, hip hop and jazz.

In truth, this album does not impress me.  Abstract's vocals are repetitive, even though the lyrics flow effortlessly.  At the same time, his messages are more important than anything else.  This I respect.  The down tempo of the album is a nice change, but 18 tracks of it gets very mundane.  What does impress me, is the patience, practice, and dedication to a genre without forcing a commericalization of sound.  The fact that he is true to himself throughout is the most commendable thing about him.

If you are trying to find out about true hip-hop, the kind of hip-hop that cats like me argue about when discussing the difference between hip-hop and rap, then this is what you should listen to.  If you want to understand what the influences of the left side of the country are like, then you most definitely need to listen to this.  Not because of the message it presents, but because of what it says.

Next up: Aceyalone "All Balls Don't Bounce"

Monday, February 25, 2013

A is for Absent Fever - "Generation Y Not"

Absent Fever - "Generation Y Not"

Taken from their Bandcamp page, this is how Absent Fever is described. "Absent Fever is a free digital release label/music collective started by Eloise of verb/re/verb and Tyler of Flashlight Tag. Aside from... exposing emerging young talent via free music, Absent Fever’s goal is to also incorporate visual based mixed media art in order to further the connection between music and visuals"

While digging through Bandcamp a while back, I came across this little album.  The album was a free download, which I always love.  The album contains seven tracks by seven different acts.   The album is described best on their Bandcamp link. "Generation Y Not is a compilation of 7 young Los Angeles artists, all of whom are part of the enormous movement of youth in music. The compilation is a feature on the paramount shift in music culture, how because of the internet and the way this generation has grown up with the ability to create and share so easily, music has been taken into the hands of youth."  Most of the album is of an electronic-low key sound.

I don't know if the best way to describe it is "chill-wave" or not, but the opening track "Don't Care Bout Her," by Dreams is an excellent opener.  It has a nice slowed down, James Blake style dub sound.  Not the overly wah wah sound that is predominate in dub step, but a more relaxed way of making dub sounds.  The vocal samples used add a nice touch and I like this for when I need to chill.

"Immersion" by Kontent is the second track.  Most times I would skip right past this, not because it isn't good but because it doesn't really provide much to me.  The rhythmic beat is to repetitive.  There is a little bit of variation, but not enough to make the track more interesting.

Wondr provides the third track, "What A Day."  While the track starts with a possibility of hope, it just finds a way to make itself seem to ambient.  Even with the added vocal sampling, the track doesn't really provide much.  Sometimes I wish people who did ambient music would stop doing it with an electronic background.  A song like this needs a little more drums and less out-thereness.

Sometimes an album just needs a total change of pace and boy does it come in from left field on this one.  Honeydrip's "Dull Tydes Brings Us All Down Sometimes" is no-where close in the musical realm as the previous offerings.  This might be the Absent Fever label's rock band.  They have a decent sound, but the vocals need some practice.  Not to sound like a total douche-bag hipster when talking about this band, but I guess I did.  I like their sound.  They remind me of plenty of other bands when they were first starting out.  I hope they keep up the good work and keep up the fine tuning.

"The Last Chapter (Forgive Me)" by Caves comes sixth.  In about 200 days, we will get to the Caves album and you will get to see how awesome they are.  This track is just a little too slow for me.  Especially after following a up and coming rock band.  This follows in the ambient sound of the earlier tracks.  I have heard better things from this band and maybe that is why this track disappoints me.  Softly singing over a monotonous beat with keyboard dragging sounds does not make for an awesome track.  In case you didn't know.

After one minute of listening to "In My Head" by Eliot, I finally got to hear a track that is good.  The first minute of nothingness should have been left for nothing.  The remainder reminds me what I love about chilled out electronic music.  It has a good rhythm, nothing you can dance to, but something that you can write to (as I am right now).  There is nothing more to this track other than a solid background and a more focused rhythm system.  It isn't overpowering, which is a good thing.

Last track!! Tuesday Glass gives us a rock song that hopefully Honeydrip will pay attention to.  Not just how it sounds, but also in how it sounds. "Better Places" reminds me a bit of that short period in "alternative" music, when bands weren't sure of their sound.  That is still making late 80s sounds vs 90s grunge sounds.  Tuesday Glass is right there, but they deliver very well.

All in all, I couldn't tell you how often I will listen to this in the future.  Maybe one day when I hear a song, I'll be reminded of this sampler album.  For a free album, I'm not entirely bitching about it. For a bunch of kids doing work, I applaud them.  The one luxury of youth is time and over time we all are able to grow in maturity and skills.  Those of us enjoy this culture in music should look forward to hearing more.  There is solid potential for some of these groups and I wish them the best of luck in their journey.

Next up: Abstract Tribe Unique "Mood Pieces"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A is for Ab-Soul "Control System"

Sorry for missing my Saturday assignment, but my work schedule is only hardest on Mondays and Saturdays.

Ab-Soul - Control System

In this new generation of hip-hop/rap kids, there are many influences that I might not be able to truly relate to.  At the same time, I've been listening to a lot hip hop/rap for years.  This has allowed me to be able follow a lot of the trend and see where things are going.  With Ab-Soul's contribution to the genre, you see the potential and the downside at the same time.

Control System is a good "first" album, for any rap artist.  What it needs though is more focus and range.  Ab-Soul follows the Camron/Young Jeezy/Kayne West tradition of rhyming.  This is the downside to his hip hop.  He provides more of an Dr Seuss rhyming style as opposed to showing depth.  Like on the track "Terrorist Threat," the lyrics - "Babylon, Babylon/All is see out the window is Babylon/On the news all I see is Babylon/and all these dudes do is babble on" show a lack of creativity.  This is a common theme throughout.  Plus, if you're going to make a song about anti-military/government, etc, then you need to come hard.  And very hard.  No one likes a soft "anti" song.  The lyricism is one of two things that bother me about the album.  The other is the beat production on the majority of the tracks is the exact same styling.  I know many producers do this, but they succeed because they change the focus of the beats or the instruments themselves (vary drums, horns, etc).  There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of this with Control System.  The majority of tracks also have a very slow beat rhythm.

I know the whole swag scene is what's big in hip-hop these days, but it has to change.  Most of the beats present the swag style and, for me, I could do without a whole album this way.  On the track "SOPA," guest mc Schoolboy Q does great job.  The song also prrovides a DJ Screw style hook.  The whole track should be done that way. Plus, if you are going to name a song "SOPA," please make it about SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act and what it represents.   This lack of true focus is a shame, but it is the best track on the album.  It and "Lust Demons," which guest The Chicago Kid who I thought was Twista at first, are the highlights of the album.  These two tracks show the potential that Ab-Soul has.  He creates a slow jam, hip-hop track, but he doesn't need three or four.  Ab-Soul also need to make sure he delivers harder and more honest when he makes his socially conscious tracks.

All in all, I'm not truly impressed with the album, but there are a few potential gems.  Plus, there is a promise of Ab-Soul being better, but there has to be more focus.  I do appreciate the few tracks that deliver on the production.  I believe in the true marriage of beats and rhymes.  I'm sure when I need to get into a certain mood, I will reach out for Ab-Soul, but for regular rotation it is on pause.

With time, we will all see how he grows.  "I just wanna be free/I ain't trying to be nobody shadow."  Hopefully Ab-Soul can learn to be himself on his next album a little more.  I look forward to seeing that change.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A is for AA Bondy "When The Devil's Loose"

A.A. Bondy - When the Devil's Loose.

This is AA Bondy's second album, which I know is a little odd to review the newest album first and the older album second.  I know, but hey, that's the way the computer has it.

I just finally listened to the album in whole tonight.  It is wonderful.  I actually like this one a little better than "Believer."  It's not about a sense of range.  He still keeps his blues/folk sound going.  There is no "uptempo" tune, but at the same time there is no overly dramatic sad, sad song.  It is a nicely put together, well thought out album.  The songs flow one into the other with a smoothness that makes you feel like you are part of the story being told, without the album coming across with a "concept" theme.

The opening track is  titled "The Mightiest of Guns."  It as a small overture sound in the beginning and then you hear the strings being strummed perfectly.  If this song could have no lyrics it would still be beautiful.  This song reminds me of  Carson McCullers's "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."  It is smooth and soothing.  Whatever the intention behind the story for the song, I know not.  What I do know is that this is how you start an album.

"A Slow Parade" has to follow in big footsteps and does nicely.  Here I hear the blues man at his core.  Plus, I love any musician who uses a piano correctly in a song.  No matter how the song goes, if the piano is the right tool for the song then I love it.  If used wrong for a song, the song suffers.  The piano is perfect in this song.  "Parade" finds no rush to play with segments of only instrumentals.  This is a hard feat to pull off, but Bondy does a wonderful job.  If there were a scene for a movie where the character is reflecting on a past moment, then this song fits the scene.  I see a man walking a small beach town street.  He looks upon the people living their lives and wonders about his own.  His life is a slow parade, but he knows the time for the next adventure is right around the corner.

"When the Devil's Loose" makes me think a little bit about the old time folk sound.  First Bondy tells Delilah to not go round when the Devil's loose. The old time guitar sounds beautiful.  My favorite verse is the "in the living/in the dying/how easily you bruise."  It's a truth that we all have to remember.  We bruise in everything.  Some artist don't know how to make a title track.  Bondy delivers a lesson on how to do it.  Well done sir.

"To the Morning" and "Oh the Vampire" find the album slowing down.  Not just slowed down, but last song at a dusty floored, dim lit, little town dive bar.  The kind of place where the pool table is missing two balls and there is only one cue because the others got used in a bar fight long ago.  The type of song that someone plays when they have two quarters left and is too drunk to punch the right numbers.  Where you slow dance with your lady as the night ends.  The songs aren't romantic and moving, they are just very mellow.  And that soots me just fine.

"I Can See the Pines are Dancing" helps us get a little bit of the speed we had earlier back.  It's not rock-a-billy speed, but it's Bondy's speed.  This guy plays a smooth guitar and delivers a wonderfully voiced song.  "This is the leaving of another love/This is the howling at the moon/These are the arms you fell into/I am a fire and I must burn today."  If this isn't a verse about passion, then I don't know what is.  This might be my favorite song on the album.  It has a smooth tempo change in the middle of the verses to had the importance to the lyrics.

Here, give it a listen.

"A False River" is a good song.  When it starts, it makes me think of a Johnny Cash tune.  But it doesn't deliver with the speed I thought it would.  It makes me realize how much I don't know about folk music.

"On The Moon."  If you start a song with a piano, then I am in love.  This is the song I would use for a movie or tv show anytime.  Whether it's a montage of a love lost or a love distant, it is perfect.  No other instrument, just the piano and the voice.  It sets up the fade to black scene before our hero begins the day anew and faces the journey of the day.  Plus the songs finishes with a moment of musical interlude to help you prepare for the final two songs.

"The Mercy Wheel."  Our love affair in our small town is almost ending and Bondy does wonderfully here.  It's not an overpowering song and it sucks that it has to follow what I find to be the most beautiful song on the album.

"The Coal Hits the Fire" ends the album.  It is a wonderful selection to end a song.  When some rock bands try to get that old-timey folk sound, the type of sound where the hurt and love are at its' soul, they sound rushed and just off.  Bondy doesn't do a whole Jack Black style tune, which is rushed.  He does his tune, which is slow and meditative.  It is honest, with hurt and pain, love and the future. This song has a solid slow build up.  There are only two stanzas.  They are beautiful. This is how an album should end.  "Memory, oh, memory where is it I must go?/Away from here, but do not weep/Such wonders you will know"

When I read, this is the type of music I like to listen to.  When the weather is nice and the front or back porch is the place to sit and relax, then these songs are the kind to listen to.  Some songs are slow, some not so much.  I know slow, mellow albums are not every one's cup of tea, but sometimes we need them.  That is what this album is for.  For the moments in our life when we need a mellow moment.  I'm happy to have reviewed this because I have a greater appreciation for Mr. Bondy's work.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A is for A.A. Bondy

AA Bondy - Believers

About 4 years ago, I was living in Tampa, Fl.  A good friend of mine had been talking about a tv show with some of her friends and I asked her about it.  The show happened to be called "Parenthood."  I was hanging out with her one day when it was on and watched it with her.  It was an unbelievable show.  The more I watched, the more I loved the show.  Not just becuase of the show, but because of the music.  They always find the right music for the right emotion that is being protrayed.

During the third season, after I moved back to Charlotte, I was enjoying the storyline of the brothers opening up a studio in San Fran.  During the episode, I was introduced to an artist named AA Bondy.  Mr. Bondy is from Birmingham, Alabama, which is where some of my family lives.  After learning which songs were on the episode, I decided to dig through the internet to find more of his music.

The album "Believers" was released in 2011.  AA is a folk singer, but not in the mindset of an overly bluesy, folk singer. To me, I find his voice to be melodic and cracking at the same time.  I hear the emotions of a man.  Of a soul that is still in hurt, but slowly healing.

AA Bondy - The Heart is Willing.

The album starts with "The Heart is Willing."  It starts with the slow speed of a train, but as soon as you get on, you are off to the distance.  The bass strums constantly like the wheels turning and the drums beat along like the engine churning.  The song is the perfect intro for this album.  It gets you going, but doesn't speed off too fast.  It just lets you sit back and enjoy the escape of the small town you used to be stuck in.  For me the vast majority of the album is like the intro song.  This is not a folk record where you are going to be blown away by the guitar strums and a wailing voice.  This album is like a midnight walk alone on a country road contemplating what the hell is going on.  I find what I love about this album is exactly that.  I don't need to always know about the hardness of life.  I need to know about the soothing of time alone. Bondy provides you the escape of the hurt, the loss, and the love, without reminding you about it.  You don't look at the pictures of your past crying in the dark.  He allows you to remember the moments but as a glancing moment.  I find I ponder, but not too long on my life when I listen to him.  "Believers" reminds me of winter and the chill and frost, but also of the warmth of the house.

AA Bondy - Drmz

While "Believers" is Bondy's latest endevour, it is also his best work so far.  With a hauntingly beautiful voice, as well as the honesty of life in his songs, I am happy to have stumbled across him.  I'm sure that in the moments of my life where I need a song for the fireplace on that cold winter day or for when I need the freshness of the crisp fall night air, he will always be available to help console and soothe me.

AA Bondy - Believers

1."The Heart is Willing"
2."Down in the Fire (Lost Sea)"
3."Skull & Bones"
4."123 Dupuy Street"
5."Surfer King"
8."The Twist"
9."Rte. 28/Believers"
10."Scenes from a Circus"

A disclaimer on this blog.

This blog is personal journey into my musical world.  This is not a hipster blog to explain how awesome one band is and how another sucks.  This is for me to learn more about the music I own and why I love it.

I have on my computer over 2000 albums of varying genres.  I plan to write a review of each and every entry on my i-tunes daily.  There is no method to the madness, just I will start with the first one and move along to the next one daily.  The system of cataloging is really random.  I do not follow all the rules, but I do follow my own.  For instance, Al Green is under A for Al and Fiona Apple is under A for Apple.  That's just the way I have it set up, so please do not beat me up for it.  I will not write a true "review" of the album for every album.  I'm no music critic, but I am in love with music.  I love all that it represents.  Everything about it.  Some of my reviews might be about the actually songs, others about the memories of my life and why the tracks are important.  I will do the best I can to provide tracks off of each album to provide you with something to listen to while you read.

Please enjoy this journey with me.  One day you might know the artist, but not the story that goes with it.  The next day, you might not know who I am talking about.  I would love for you all to love all that I love about music.