Winyl Wednesday: Vodka Gets Wine Out
The writers of Hear & Now get together with a vinyl of their choice, a bottle of wine, and an open mind full of things to say about each album.
Spike brought Pure Bathing Culture’s Pray for Rain
SPIKE: This album is one day old. Nice.
JASON: That bass though.
BLAKE: Bass. Good.
SPIKE: If Beach House was a jazz-influenced indie band, this is what it would sound like.
JASON: "The Tower" sounds like it should be the theme to a '80s detective show.
JESII: Retro guitar tones, ambient wavy vocals.
MANDI: Whoa, these vocal effects are trippy.
SPIKE: She has a foreign, exotic feel to her vocal delivery on “The Tower”.
JESII: Sounds like she's singing into a glass bottle sometimes.
MANDI: She kinda reminds me of Victoria LaGrand if her voice was more mezzo-soprano.
JASON: "Pray for Rain" reminds me of like ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" if it was played by The Cure.
JESII: I like this song. It is a strong song overall and a wise lead single choice. Plus I think Target bought it and I don't blame them, it kicks ass and makes me want to buy Oreos and random shit I don't actually need.
MANDI: I can see why they opened for Tennis on their last tour. They have the same synth-female-vocal sound.
BLAKE: It has a small tasteful electronic feel.
JASON: Seems like they sampled every '80s keyboard sound and crammed it into one song.
SPIKE: “Palest Pearl” has a Wesley Willis beat.
JASON: "Palest Pearl" totally sounds like "Young Turks" by Rod Stewart.
SPIKE: This album is super synth-heavy. I like it.
MANDI: This song reminds me of Rubblebucket.
JASON: It also sounds like they used a backing track from one of my old SEGA Genesis games.
JESII: super 80's video game vibes.
SPIKE: I would like to hear someone rap over the instrumental of “Clover”.
JESII: I like the start of this track. It's a bit more surf than straight retro.
JASON: "Clover" totally sounds like En Vogue's "My Love (Never Gonna Get It)”.
JESII: They recorded this in a bathtub? I don't mind.
JASON: The melody in "Darling, Save Us" sounds like a Christmas carol as written by Madonna.
JESII: Oh, I can understand her words on this song. Yay. I always wonder why duplicating vocals is such a trend, then adding a harmony track. So much vocal.
JASON: I think I'm officially starting to get '80s fatigue, guys.
BLAKE: The bass stands out and not in an over-the-top Incubus sort of way. It sits on the floor of the album perfectly.
SPIKE: I am excited to see this band live. They are playing November 4th at Rhythm Room with Wild Ones, one of my favorite bands.
BLAKE: This band sounds like slightly emotional but mostly neutral background music to a really good party you'd throw for only close friends at the end of summer.
JASON: Also I've been praying for rain this entire time, and there's been none. So I think that's a "fail" for PBC.
Mandi brought Surfer Blood’s 1000 Palms
JASON: So they mean 1,000 of Spike's old band (PALMS), right?
MANDI: This is about the closest to garage punk I’ll get. It’s a great mixture of Real Estate and The Growlers, with some pop-punk influences thrown in.
BLAKE: Vocals shaky but better toward the end.
JASON: Nothing's really captivating me about "Grand Inquisitor" yet.
BLAKE: This is not surf rock. I was way off.
JASON: OK, the second half's pretty funky.
SPIKE: The entrance vocals in “Island” remind me of Morrissey. Then they get into a punk-ish Best Coast-esque chorus. Also it reminds me of Interpol for some reason.
JASON: "Island" should have been the opening track, in my opinion.
BLAKE: Sounds like they are influenced by the Beach Boys but more indie.
JASON: This has an incredibly catchy new wave vibe that I'm totally enjoying right now.
SPIKE: They have simple chord progressions like a pop punk band, but the vocals take it out of that category completely. Okay maybe not completely.
JASON: "I Can't Explain" isn't a cover of The Who track, is it? (Answer: nope.)
MANDI: The say the word “Methylenedioxyamphetamine” in this song.
JESII: Mandi just said a 400-syllable word that evidently is in this song. Ten points for creativity to the band.
JASON: Having said that, it's a pretty neat little mid-tempo surf number with some cool harmonies and neat slide guitar.
BLAKE: "I can't explain" is a great lyric for repeating.
MANDI: Does anyone else a slight resemblance to Blink-182’s “I Miss You”?
JESII: 100 points to Mandi for properly calling out that this track matches up perfectly to a Blink-182 song.
JASON: The full-on rock coda is definitely welcome, though.
SPIKE: Again, with the monotone Morrissey vocals, over an upbeat indie pop-punk song.
JASON: "Feast-Famine" has a strong, driving beat, but the melody isn't really there, at least in the verses.
MANDI: “Sometimes I feel lost and lonely in my skin.” Whoa, deep.
JASON: The chorus is pretty catchy though: very REM-esque. In fact, the vocals remind me of Mike Mills.
MANDI: I like that there’s hardly any breaks between the songs.
JASON: "Point of No Return" sounds like "Wicked Game" if it was way funkier and played by Talking Heads. This might be the best overall song on this side so far.
Jesii brought What Laura Says’ Talk
JASON: I miss WLS. Please come back, guys.
JESII: "Girl Not Gonna Leave" gives me Sail Inn flash backs to when I first heard/saw these songs. It makes me happy.
JASON: I dare anyone try to resist the bluesy tribal funk of "Girl Not Gonna Leave." It sounds like Paul McCartney and Tom Waits had a baby.
SPIKE: I forgot how rootsy this was. This is the better side of jam bands.
JASON: That acoustic guitar riff though. Also, the slide solo on this track absolutely slays.
BLAKE: It’s like indie blues rock; like choppy roots blues rifts in the style of Beck.
JASON: Kudos to Bob Hoag for the great production on this track, especially with the guitars.
JESII: Papa Mitch (Freedom) on bass, leading the way into “Porch Indiana”.
JASON: Is there any such place as "Porch Indiana"?
JESII: This song has a candy-coated instrumental chorus, because their songwriting never follows tradition.
JASON: This track has a slinky T. Rex groove that I really like.
BLAKE: Cool bass line sounds like the Beatles.
MANDI: This band needs to be a thing again. This is when local was like REALLY good!
JASON: The chorus has a nice whimsical vibe that contrasts with the verses well.
JESII: Ugh, can you tell I miss them?
JASON: How much do we need to pay to get these guys to do at least one more show?
SPIKE: “Sun Is” is super awesome. That bass though.
JASON: "Sun Is" sounds anything but sunny. Actually, it sounds like it could have been taken straight from "There's a Riot Goin' On."
JESII: Sneaky harmonies blush their way in with a little more smoky retro sound to this track.
MANDI: This song is slow psych and everything I need right now.
JASON: I wonder how old the drum machine in this song is. It sounds ancient.
BLAKE: "And so it seems you’re chasing everybody else's dreams" is an amazing lyric, and Blake zones out into introspection for the remainder of winyl.
SPIKE: Oh and now there's a harmonica? Nice.
JASON: 5 points for the use of harmonica
SPIKE: “Oh, My Neighbor” has a Fleet Foxes feel to it.
JASON: The acoustic guitar on "Oh My Neighbor" is absolutely gorgeous.
MANDI: These guys need to play a reunion show with Future Loves Past and Harrison Fjord.
JESII: The often repetitive aspect to their songs is used to an advantage, and this song does repetitive layers well.
JASON: Really though, this is a perfect closing track.
JESII: Okay I'll stop being nostalgic for 2011 now, bye
Blake brought As Cities Burn’s Come Now Sleep
JASON: Since this is Blake's favorite album of all time, my bar has been raised pretty high.
JESII: I know this is going to be complex because Blake told me that it would be.
JASON: I'm digging the moody, atmospheric intro of "Contact" right now though.
MANDI: Okay, I thought Blake was bringing hardcore. This is not what I expected.
BLAKE: “Contact” changes from 11/8 to 4/4 to 3/4 time signatures in a single song. I MEAN WHAT!? Come on, that's awesome.
MANDI: Yeah, the time signatures are super tight
SPIKE: Very strange guitar sound, but I like it.
JASON: Is it weird to think that the chorus sounds vaguely Beach Boys-ish?
MANDI: it kinda has the same vibe of “I Can’t Explain” that we just previously heard.
SPIKE: This is kind of reminiscent of Thursday, but not as dark, but still dark.
JASON: The build up of this song is pretty impressive, to be honest.
JESII: It's winding and switches up multiple times per song.
JASON: "Long Body" isn't as immediately gripping as "Contact," though the atmosphere is still kind of cool.
JESII: And then I spilled wine on my brand new white shirt
SPIKE: This is the perfect mix of Thrice and Thursday. They have the guitar riffs of Thrice; and the space but coordination between vocals, guitar and drums that Thursday has, except a little slower and more epic, like Thrice.
JASON: So far As Cities Burn seems to be all about dynamics and build; and I ain't even mad.
JESII: Apparently, vodka is better than mineral water at getting red wine out.
JASON: Pro tip: vodka gets wine out.
MANDI: His voice sounds really young.
SPIKE: “Timothy” started in one place and ended somewhere completely different. This could be the entire soundtrack for an epic space mission that ends in tragedy short film. Credits included.
JASON: What did Timothy do to deserve this song?
MANDI: Whoa, the guitars on this song are insane! They weave everywhere!
JASON: For real though, it sounds like a typical emo-alt-rock song that I heard on the radio back in high school, although it has a bit of an Indian tinge to it.
BLAKE: It ends with the line "So take a look around if there's a God than he must be asleep". It levels me.
JASON: Overall, this album was definitely better than I thought it was going to be. Kudos to you, Blake!
Jason brought The Police’s Synchronicity
JESII: The Police are now on once the wine crisis is fixed.
JASON: We're listening to the side without the hits, because we've all heard the hits.
SPIKE: Is this the wrong speed? No. Nope, not the wrong speed.
JASON: "Synchronicity" is way more punk rock than I remember it being.
BLAKE: This sounds like everything I didn't know The Police could be and I mean that in a good way.
JESII: I now understand where Metallica got the double bass drum idea.
JASON: And we go to a complete and total 180 with "Walking in Your Footsteps."
MANDI: Uhm…is he singing about a dinosaur? I mean, I get the tribal sound now.
JASON: Could you imagine Sting asking these questions to an actual dinosaur? He'd probably be eaten alive before he uttered two words.
MANDI: That’s a lot of drugs.
JESII: What the hell is Sting saying on every song?
MANDI: Yeah, I have no clue what he’s singing about.
JASON: "Oh My God" is everything great about jazz rock in one funky little number.
SPIKE: Wait what happened on “Oh My God”? Is this a circus with an upset ring leader?
MANDI: “Oh My God” is the reaction I have to that fake trumpet sound.
JASON: I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's reaction to "Mother."
MANDI: Uhm, who’s this guy singing?
JESII: I don't think I had listened to this particular Police record before.
JASON: Surprisingly it's not as "WTF" as I expected.
BLAKE: It sounds like ADHD indie pop with quick tempos and abruptly changing melody lines.
JASON: "Ms. Grandecko" is a pretty underrated catchy little number.
BLAKE: Jason sold me on the police. I salute him. I didn't think it could be done.
JASON: "Synchronicity II" just might be my favorite Police song.
MANDI: this song sounds like that “Message in a Bottle” song.
JESII: While this album is generally enjoyable, I think I will sick to “Roxanne” to get my Police fix in the future.
JASON: It just highlights everybody's skills so perfectly. Not to mention is an incredibly well-written number from Sting.
SPIKE: This is the police I know; took them all the way to the end of side A to figure it out.
JASON: Yup, this is probably one of the quirkiest albums ever to hit the top of the charts. All thanks to "Every Breath You Take."