Tag Archives: review

Weekly Vinyl – Silesian Saturdays

7 Apr

Saturdays in Silesia (EP)
Rational Youth
(1982)

What a joyous song.
What pure electro-pop. Pure synth-pop.
Saturdays in Silesia is clean. The beat is pronounced. It is fresh. It is crisp.
This is a great pop song.
Rational Youth were a band out of Montreal that was prominent in the early 1980s. I should say they are a band as they are still around.
They have a sizable discography and had a few hits but they are all overshadowed by this one. There is another song on this EP, Pile Ou Face, but when that is playing you just want to hear Saturdays in Silesia again.
The song really hits one out of the park and I’m sure the band feels that it is a blessing and a curse.
It is a great song.

Weekly Vinyl – Гадюкiну – Hadiukiny

31 Mar

Ми – Хлoпцi з Бандерштадту – We Are The Boys From Bandershtat
Брати Гадюкiни – The Hadyukin Brothers
(1991)

Braty Hadiukiny were one of the best Ukrainian rock bands in the 1990s.
Spoiler Alert.
I know this band.
I met them in Warsaw in 1989 as they were on their way to play a festival in Sopot.
When they were in Toronto in 1990, we saw B.B. King together.
I hung out with them in Ukraine.
I’ve kept in touch all these years.
I’m not unbiased here.
So should I be entitled to write a review of their album? Why not.
It is a great disk. The songs are catchy and witty. This album sees them introduce a horn section which really filled out their sound. They evolved from a punky-reggeaish outfit to a slick bluesy rock outfit.
The transformation from when I first heard them to this album is quite astounding. The music is quite diverse actually – it is a good reflection of what music influenced the lyrysist and singer, Serhiy Kuzminsky and the rest of the band. There are lots of nods to bands here from the Rolling Stones to the Talking Heads, to Bob Marley to even Ukrainian folk.
It is a great album. Yes I’m biased – but it is a great album nonetheless.

Weekly Vinyl – Puff

24 Mar

All About Dragons
Disney
(1963)

I hate this album.
I hate the song “Puff the magic dragon.”
One of my teachers in early grade school kept on playing it during nap time. It is seared into my brain.
I hate it.
I do not have any long term issues, nor did hearing this again trigger any pent up fury.
My only thoughts were – Why do I have this? And  – Shall I listen to the whole thing.
The latter was addresses in the affirmative and the former query was unresolved.
This is a mindless kids album which serves no purpose in this day and age.
I dislike Puff the Magic Dragon – this is clear.
I dislike this album because it is bland and uninteresting.
Next.

Weekly Vinyl – Soviet Anthems

17 Mar

Anthems of the Soviet Union
Various
(1988)

I bought this in Kyiv in 1993. I was surprised to see this in the store because it was still a “government-run” store, it was the main shopping store in the centre of Kyiv, and the Soviet Union was gone.
It was cheap, it was vinyl and I bought it.
What strikes me about this album is how bad the quality is. You cannot make out any of the words being song. The sound is flat. It is akin to making multiple generational copies of an analogue cassette tape and then using that to master the record. It sounds like it is being played far away.
The recording is bad and the anthems of the Soviet Union are uninteresting.
Meh…

Weekly Vinyl – Running Scared

10 Mar

Running Scared
Various
(1986)


For the record – I never saw this movie.
For the record – this is the first time I’m listening to this album.
For the record – I have no idea why I have this album. I’m not going to waste time and energy to speculate.
For the record – this album was in a remainder bin – you can tell because of the large drill hole in the cover.
For the record – this record might count as Canadian content because David Foster was one of the producers.
For the record – If you want to hear a fair selection of radio friendly 1980s pop – this might be for you. Klymaxx, Patti LaBelle, Kim Wilde – they are all here.
For the record – this album does not make me nostalgic for this aspect of the 1980s.
For the record – this album does not make me want to watch the movie.
For the record – the first side of this album did not compel me to listen to the other side.
For the record – I listened to side two and my opinion of this disc has not changed.

Weekly Vinyl – Trance

3 Mar

The Decision is Yours
Chis Kain
(2001)

This is trance music.
How do I know?
There’s a sticky note with that word written on it. It might have migrated from a different album though.
I bought these in Toronto after coming home from some travels. The world was firmly in CD mode and even used “record shops” carried very little vinyl. I was stocking up on that stuff at garage sales. I bought this, and several other albums brand new at a record store that catered to EDM and rave type music. That was also the first time that I felt old as people in that small shop looked at me like I was an old homeless vagrant.
Nevertheless.
This is trance musicbecause listening to this music you do fall into atrance – what kind is up to your mood.
Yes, you can groove to it.
Yes, you can shimmy and shake.
Yes, you can dance wildly to it.
Yes, you can listen to this and slowly contemplate the meaning of life.

Weekly Vinyl – Orff

24 Feb

Carl Orff: Carmina Burana
The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, Conductor
(1960)

This album has the devil music.
You know – that bombastic score that is used on occasion to signify evil on screen. Real and menacing evil.
It, more specifically the final movement is well known to all. It was used in Excalibur, The Doors, Capitalism: A love Story, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and so on. It has been called the most overused piece of music
The text is not evil. Although it is in Latin – and the fact that I had to take a year of Latin is evil.
This disk has lyrics – so you can sing along in Latin. You can even sing along in olde English as the Latin text is translated into the Language of Shakespeare.
From the Famous O Fortuna:
“O Fortune,
Variable
As the moon,
always dost thou
Wax and wane.”
Evil indeed.
The music is bombastic and brilliant.
I’ll have to play it for my kids to scare them.

Weekly Vinyl – Dance Disco

17 Feb

T.K. Disco
Fern Inney
(1979)

This is a disappointing disk.
Not only is it disco, but it is bad disco.
It is formulaic.
It is bland.
It does not make me want to dance, dance, dance – like the cover promises.
One of the songs, Groove me, starts with a nice rhythm … but then it turns to shlock.
There are but two songs on this “Maxi-disk” so at least the listening regime is short.

Weekly Vinyl – Mar-Keys

10 Feb

The Great Memphis Sound
The Mar-Keys
(1966)

SONY DSC

What a sound.
What sweet, sweet silky sound.
Does it get any better than this?
Hardly.
The Mar-Keys were the house-band for Stax records – these are the guys that played backup to all the great music that came out in the late fifties and sixties. The band has Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn of Blues Brothers fame.
These are serious musicians that can play in a grove and make everything sound great.
How great?
My kids came in from school while this disc was playing and they started to groove and shimmy to the music. They liked the music. They did until I pointed out that this music was recorded around the time daddy was born.
Well that was a buzz-kill for the kids.
But what music, what joy. The songs here are all instrumental and you know that they were recorded life off the floor. No overdubs. No production correction. No digital enhancement.
This is a great band, in a groove, playing the music they love.
It is great.

Weekly Vinyl – Germans march

3 Feb

German Army Chorus
German Army Chorus and Brass Band
(1969)

SONY DSC

It is not easy to confess to fetishes.
But I have this thing for German marching music.
It started off as an iron expression of using my turntable and buying records at the Sally Ann or Goodwill.
But I got hooked.
I forget which album was the “gateway drug” but whichever one it was, it brought me to this.
You don’t really have to hear this album played to know more-or-less what the sonic experience will be.
It is all that and more.
If you are into this you will rejoice.
If not – you will run for the hills covering your ears and yelling … loudly.
This is great music to play when you want to do some stuff around the house, like cleaning or changing the kitchen faucet.
It motivates, elevates and invigorates.
As initial iron brought me to this disc, I must highlight the great irony that is in this disk. This album was released in 1969 by London Records, just about 29 short years from when the Nazi Germans were playing a different tune over London.