Category Archives: Electronic

BHP Best of 2016

It’s that time of the year again folks.  Time to sit here and type out a list of bands that have impressed me one way or another.  I am not keeping to a set number as it would take me forever to narrow it down.

A sincere thanks to everyone who’s ever visited this site – seriously.  I know I tend to say that around the time I do my best of lists, but I really mean it.  I almost called it quits  earlier this year and reconsidered at the last minute.

This blog is very personal to me and even if more people find it while Googling how to fix their headphones, it is still fun to do.  If I can turn someone on to a new band just by one post, then my job is done.

With that said, I plan on sticking around for a while.

I am sure I will add a few more as they come to me in the next couple of weeks (as I always do [up to 3 edits now]), but for now, here’s the list of the albums that really caught my attention in 2016:

[EDIT:  The year is not over yet and I needed to throw in just a couple more…]


Chandeli’ers – Breaker
-This was the album that hit me in the right way.  It was fun across the board and sounded like the Clash meets Elvis Costello.  What more could you ask for?


Run The Jewels – RTJ3
-This album was not supposed to drop until 3 weeks into the new year, but El-P and Killer Mike decided to drop it on Christmas day for all to enjoy.  I can not stop listening to it.  I know I am not the only one either.

MakeWar "Developing A Theory Of Integrity"
MakeWar – Developing a Theory of Integrity
-Hands down one of my favorite surprise releases of the year.  This punk rock band has thrown together an album I will be listening to over and over for years to come.

joe-mcmahon
Joe McMahon – Another Life
-This is another one of my favorite albums this year.  McMahon shared with the world an outstanding collection of tunes that everyone needs to check out.  His solo material is a lot different from his Smoke or Fire days and that is not a bad thing at all.

Bob Mould
Bob Mould – Patch the Sky
-Mould recorded a masterpiece with Patch the Sky.  If you have not had the chance to listen to this album, you are missing out.  This album is perfect to listen to any day.

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman – Ishkode! Ishkode!
-I am kicking myself for not putting this on my list initially.  Richman is one of the most prolific songwriters out there and put out quite the release.  I loved how song his songs were fun at times while others were just complex and reached across borders.  He really showcased his musical abilities on this release.  This guy has been writing music for longer than I have been alive and still is able to put out quality albums.

Dinosaur Jr.
Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
-I have been a fan of this band for over 25 years now, so it only makes sense that this release made my list.  Oh, it also kicks so much ass.  Lou Barlow singing on it made it that much better.

All Dinosaurs
All Dinosaurs – Total Dissatisfaction
-Where do I even start with this one?  It’s like listening to the Bronx, but better, and from Cleveland.  I love this album so much that I literally just bought the LP from their bandcamp page.  No lie.

Useless ID
Useless ID – State is Burning
-This band will always be one of my favorites and this release continued to keep me a fan.  With a much more harder approach, they really killed it on this one.  I also adored the nod to the late Brandon Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket.

pulley
Pulley – No Change in the Weather 
This band was a huge favorite of mine in the late 90s and I thought they were done in the mid-2000s, but low and behold, they came back with an album that seemingly continued where they left off without missing a beat.  “Sometimes” is such a great track.

Beach Slang
Beach Slang – A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
-James Alex (and former crew) have created a timeless album for music fans of all ages.  Catchy yet poignant, the album has been on a weekly rotation to my ears since the album dropped.  It may clock in at around 30 minutes, but it is a hell of a ride from start to finish.

Worship This! - Mint
Worship This! – Mint
-So what if these guys are my pals, their sophomore release blew me away.  I can not say enough good things about this album.  It is poppy, punky, and addictive.  More people need to check this album out as these Akron/Cleveland boys really know how to make sweet jams.  They are the next big thing in my mind and I love them all dearly.


Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate 
-Having one of my all time favorite bands release something new in 2016 was pretty rad.  Having one of my all time favorite bands stick to their sound from start to finish and have no indication of slowing down made it that much better.

Nothing
Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
-I never thought I would like shoegazing.  To be honest, I really never knew what shoegaze was until I heard this album and I am still not quite sure.  Indie rock and neo-psychadelica mixed with plenty of distortion and emotion made for an album that I could not get out of my head for weeks.  That’s a good thing.

Mean Jeans
Mean Jeans – Tight New Dimension 
-Mean Jeans are probably one of the most underrated bands out there right now.  This album further proved that.  A modern-day Ramones-like banger.  I loved it.


Bouncing Souls – Simplicity 
-The Souls are like a fine cheese or wine to me.  With age, this band seems to just get better.  Their latest release was just full of punk rock fun.  When I started singing along to the first song during my first listen, I knew I was going to love this album and play it over and over.

Blink 182 - California
Blink 182 – California
-I can’t help it, I got sucked in to the new Blink and I know why…  Matt Skiba.  He was the perfect addition to reinvent this band.

The Avalanches
The Avalanches – Wildflower
-16 years after their debut, The Avalanches came back with an all new release that very well probably took all 16 years to create.  I know some of my pals were not digging this release fully, but I adored it.  It probably helps that the likes of Danny Brown and Biz Marke helped make this album what it is.

Arms Aloft
Arms Aloft – What a Time to be Barely Alive
This is the one album I really need to do a proper review on, but I keep getting sidetracked.  I listen to it all of the time and it is freaking amazing.  Punk rock from the 80s perfectly blended with punk rock from the mid 2000s is one way I can describe these fellows.  The music is infections, the lyrics are fun, and from what I hear the band is pretty cool too.  This kind of sounds like a review, but it is not.  This is just me telling y’all that this album was impressive.

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – At This Age
-This is their third release and probably their most tied together, mature material I have heard them create.  They have pushed their limits from a one time local band and are more or less prepping themselves for what’s next to come.  I am proud of these dudes.

Arilss Nancy
Arliss Nancy – Greater Divides
-This band really should be at Lucero levels by now.  They are exceptional at what they do and it can be heard throughout their latest release.

har-mar-superstar
Har Mar Superstar – Best Summer Ever
-Har Mar continues to put out incredible material with each release.  This man is so talented that he drops albums that cover various genres and avoids any and all gimmicky sounds.

NOFX
NOFX – First Ditch Effort
-After all this band has been though, it only makes sense that they dropped a more personal album.  It took me a couple of listens to truly appreciate.  Don’t worry, it’s still crass at times as well as hilarious, but man, that Tony Sly tribute song will put tears in your eyes.

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar – The Astral We
-This Cleveland hardcore band is just that…  This album was insane yet intelligent, and I loved every moment of it.

the-falcon-gather-up-the-chaps
The Falcon – Gather Up the Chaps
-I love that Dave Hause was on this album.  I love that he had to play ska riffs knowing how much he hates ska because Brendan Kelly decided it was a good idea.  This album was far from serious and a good time all around.

NOTE: I promise you, Red Scare did not pay me for putting so many albums on this list.  They just had a hell of a year with releases…  Toby, I take plastic btw.

I wanted to throw a couple of EPs on here as well:

Jonathan Richman
Jonathan Richman & Tommy Larkins – That’s All We Need at Our Party
Blue Arrow Records and the creative vinyl masters Wax Merge teamed up to put out an insane variant of this 7″.  I was lucky enough to score #100 out of 100.  It’s a thing of beauty plus the tunes on it kick ass.  I love me some Jonathan Richman.  I am sure there are a few left, so snag one if you can.

Throw Shade
Throw Shade – Self-Titled
-I have talented friends who make beautiful music.  This EP is absolute proof.


Nine Inch Nails – Not the Actual Events
-I really did not know what to expect from Reznor and crew with this EP seeing how I just lost interest in their material for the last 10 years.  Man, was I pleasantly surprised.  This EP brought me back to 90s NIN and I can not wait for their full-length to drop in 2017.

bracket
Bracket – The Last Page
-At just over 70 minutes, this is one long-ass song and it’s amazing.  The track keeps it together for the listener and takes them on a punk rock voyage.  My first listed was distracted thanks to my paying gig, but my second listen with headphones on was incredible.

Finally, I know this is a best of list, but it would not be right if I did not make mention of this:

RIP Dag House…
Dag HouseIt goes without saying, sometimes you find yourself in the right situations by chance.  Thanks to an amazing batch of pals who kept Dag House going for years.  Not everyone gets to experience basement shows, and some of that could be by choice, but goddamn, if you are a music fan, basement shows are the best shows.  Dag House threw together a hell of a rager for their last show, and I was happy to be a part of it.  Thanks for the memories Dag.

2016 was a crazy year.  If you’ve made it this far in my post, thanks for sticking around and being so rad.  It is people like you and the bands above that keep me doing what I do.  Be well.

Album Review: Bombadil – Hold On

Bombadil - Hold OnI was told Bombadil, who hail from Durham, NC, were a pop-folk act that I needed to listen to.

Seeing they hail from the same state as a certain Brothers band that I adore enough to tattoo their cover art on me, I figured why the heck not.

I cannot say I’d heard of Bombadil prior to checking them out, but after doing a little research, I learned that they have been around since 2005 and caught the attention of Ramseur Records thanks to their MySpace page.  Next month, the band is dropping their fifth full length album on  titled Hold On.

I was not sure about “Coughing on the F Train” when I first listened to it.  The song reminded me of an 80s track mixed with a storyline Beck might have created in the 90s.  Overall, it was catchy, but just slower in some areas.  One song in and I already started to wonder if this band had any folk in them (Note: Their older material has a much heavier folk appeal to it from what I have listened to after writing this up).

“Amy’s Friend” cleared my question up immediately.  This track was a gentle duet that clearly has swooning abilities with great harmonies throughout.

I enjoyed “Bill You For Your Trash”, especially the guitar solo towards the end.  I could not help but think of Simon & Garfunkel in a sense while listening to this track.

“I Can’t Believe in Myself and Love You Too” made me just want to crawl in a hole with a bottle of something strong.  What a sad track.  I can not say I dug the backing vocals though, it was almost too much.

“Framboise” was one of my favorite tracks on the album.  It was almost like listening to something from the 60s.  I loved the mix of French and English singing on this track.  I secretly wish this song would have morphed into a “Bohemian Rhapsody” of sorts.  The explosion at the end I was waiting for, never happened though.  Still, very creative track.

“Love You Too Much” carried one hell of a Motown feel.    Robinson’s vocal range on this track was impressive to say the least.  I have the feeling this track is ten times better live.

I laughed to myself when I saw the title “Rhapsody in Black and White” given my previous thought regarding Queen.  I was not too sure about this track.  It was almost too weird.  I understood the premise, but was this serious or satire?  Also, can I just comment how much Robinson sounds like Pete Townshend?  I can not tell you how long it took me to find the perfect comparison, but while listening to this song, it finally struck me.

“Honest” should have been called “Brutally Honest”.  If this was not a personal confession of revalation, then Robinson has one creative ass thought process.  This track easily could have been a Brand New track.  I am not sure how many of you will even understand what I just stated, so allow me to clarify:  This track was super heavy on the emo, even with the random electronic breakdown towards the end.  This was an amazing, powerful song that I was not expecting.

“Love Is Simply” closed out the album with a very well put together composure.  There was so much going on in this track.  I candidly thought of Flight of the Concords, but only due to the singing styles.  This track was pro-love, at least I think it is.  The burning bag comment kind of threw me off.

Bombadil has their own unique approach to pop-folk with a more subtle sound that in turn is quite comforting and catchy at times.  I really think their genre is a lot broader than they get credit for.

Plenty of people are going to get into this band with Hold On as it almost caters to everyone.  With plenty of creativity in creating their own style, I can admit that I am now a fan.

Album Review: Electric Six – Human Zoo

Electric Six - Human ZooI remember the very first time Electric Six (E6) hit my ears.

I was working at a Borders Books, Music & Cafe in some fancy Cleveland suburb one night just minding my own business.  One of my co-workers was unpacking all of the promotional CDs for the listening booths and asked me to help him out.

Flashback Memory: As I am sure many of your remember, there was a time when CDs were the staple of the music industry and at Borders, we literally had to manually input CDs into the CD players that were locked below the CD shelves.  This was done so all you consumers could come in and check out an album prior to its release.  Duh.

Anyways, I remember seeing a copy of E6’s debut release Fire sitting out on the counter.  For whatever reason, I picked up the CD to see what it was all about and soon flipped it over to see the track titles.  I decided to sneak in a listen after I put the CD into the listening station.  I have been a fan ever since.  I just sat there on the floor of the music department loving every song on that title.  Needless to say, I snagged that CD the day it officially released and have had it in rotation for years.

I can’t say every release since Fire had as huge of an impact on me, but I have always appreciated what Dick Valentine and crew have done for 10+ years now.  Last years Mustang left a pretty good impression on me, but I just was not blown away completely.

The Detroit garage/rock/funk/disco/jam/electronica/jack-of-all-trades genre-bending act just dropped an all new album titled Human Zoo.  I am happy to say I mostly enjoyed the living hell out of it and I am pretty confident any E6 fan out there will too.

“Karate Lips” opened with an enthusiastic chant of “Electric Six” that quickly changed to “karate lips”.   The song, clearly about some tough-ass women, was heavy on the funk with an electric indie rock style that closely resembled stuff you might hear from the The Faint.

“It’s Horseshit!” was almost too much for my brain to compute yet I loved it.  It was like listening to a late 80s boy baElectric Sixnd infused with Daft Punk.  Definitely a track that people can get weird to.  The music and just overall feel of this song really resembled that vibe I first felt on Fire.

Valentine swooned beyond senselessly in “Alone With Your Body”.  I listened to this track a couple of times over because I liked it so much.  This was like the working man’s love jam.  Valentine sang as a simple man with plenty of Detroit soul backing him up.  I adored the back up singing as well as candid lyrics like “I’ll be there in a jiffy with a stiffy”.

“Satanic Wheels” grew on me after listening to it a couple of times.  I loved the synth throughout.  I felt like I was listening to typical E6 but with keyboard playing taking queues from 80s arena rock bands.  It was psychedelic yet indie if that makes sense.  I guess what I am trying to say is that this song ruled and was one of my favorites on the album.

“Gun Rights” was bizarre and unexpected.  I thought I was listening to Ween mashed with Mike Patton.  “Don’t take away my rights, my gun rights” repeated over and over with a fun Mexican folk melody.  The quick spoken-word of Valentine in the middle just kept things even more interesting.

“I Need A Restaurant” just did not do it for me.  The song seemed to just downgrade from all the craziness I previously was engulfed in.  Sadly, I skipped this track halfway into and barely made it through “Worst Movie Ever”.

“I’m the Devil” sounded more like something Tenacious D would have done one of their albums.  It was not terrible by any means but seemed more of a skit than a song.  I almost wish Dave Grohl would have jumped in on this track dressed as the devil.  I did like the Young Guns-like guitar playing style.  The best part of this track was at the very end when apparently Jesus Christ had a speaking roll.  Who knew he was such a burnout?

“The Afterlife” ended with a synth-pop tune that thankfully did not let the album end on a bad note for this listener.  I wish it were a little more sped up but for what it is worth, it was not a terrible listen by any means.

Human Zoo overall was a blast.  E6 continues to entertain but I will admit the latter portion of the album kind of fell short.   Regardless, most of the release got me all sorts of excited just like their debut did over 10 years ago.  This band in my opinion still entertains on a higher level.

Album Review: Streaming Satellites – Slipstream

Sometimes I find out about bands the hard way and I miss out on them.  Other times, as in this case, I am given a proper heads up by someone who believes in the band and knows the world needs to hear them.  It’s my turn now to follow their lead and tell you all about a band called Streaming Satellites.

Already a big deal overseas, Austria’s Streaming Satellites are about to drop their sophomore release on Monday titled Slipstream, and all I can say about it is I have a feeling it will be grabbing some attention.  I really was caught off-guard with this release and was thinking after hearing they were an electronic-indie band that they would have sounded a lot different than what I was treated to.

Synth-heavy, indie rock with serious soul singing was my initial reaction about what Streaming Satellites  were all about.  Then I listened to them some more and started thinking about Pink Floyd, especially the female singing in many of their songs (someone please tell me you know what I am talking about).  Then I picked up some Dan Auerbach howls  and riffs hiding behind groovy 70s music.

I will admit, it took a moment for me to get into them and at first I was expecting more 90s Daft Punk with the opening track, but things soon shifted into an entirely different direction.  I loved “Timezone” with plenty of funk groove synch music layered under catchy indie rock jams. “No Sleep For The Damned” was almost too fuzzy, but it sounded just right.  “Shadows Collide” was astray from the others, but equally as entertaining.

Towards the end of the album, things get even better with a horn section playing and full out jam sessions.  Seriously, what is not to like about this?

Slipstream truly is full of a unique blend of music from today and yesteryear aimed at anyone who just likes to get down.  Max Borchardt really has a unique signing style that carries well throughout the release.  At times his voice reminds me of a calmer J. Roddy Walston as well as a younger Robert Plant.

I usually steer clear when I hear the words “Electronic” and “Indie” put together in a sentence, but this is different, and this is good.  Try not to let Slipstream sneak past you.  If you are looking for something a little different to check out, but full of music and styles similar to bands you your parents playing on the good ol’ turntable, you really owe it to yourself to check out Streaming Satellites.  They really are a unique band.

Download This!: Minus The Bear – Hold Me Down EP

One of my favorite indie/rock/happy bands, Minus The Bear, have decided to post their new EP titled Hold Me Down for free download (see below for link). 

The EP features the title track (off of OMNI), three live tracks recorded at the Dangerbird Records studios, a b-side titled “Broken China” and a “My Time” remix.

Did I mention it is free? I think I did. You know what to do…