Nut Suite. Mini reviews of albums old and new. Minimum words. No fuss. No spoilers [?]. Occasional smugs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ALL & DESCENDENTS / Live Plus One (2001)

I’m going to make a list of the most nerdy comparisons to this that I can muster. It’s like:
It’s Chad and Milo together at the same concert, and Milo sings back-up for Chad!!! Don’t worry, though, this is two discs and the second is an entire Descendents set. Wikipedia tells me the latter was a different concert. Whatever, man~ Milo even tries his hand at one of Chad’s songs, to great effect. I can’t hype this enough: Chad sings She’s My Ex!!!!!!!!!!!!


Songs of Note: She's My ExOriginal Me

5 Floors Strong Enough to Bear the Weight of Greatness out of 5

Monday, April 10, 2017

ALL / Mass Nerder (1998)

Most folks will know the majority of this band from their other incarnation: the Descendents. Regardless of who's in the driver's seat, Bill Stevenson is omnipresent musically and with his incredibly poignant and pointed lyrics. My favorite era of ALL is without question Chad Price's. He's a quintessential vocalist and his songs are some of the most eloquent and moving I've ever heard. The one below may possibly be my favorite of all time.

This ping-pongs between hyper-brief blasts and more melodic romps. The band's strength (both as ALL and the Descendents) is that the former aren't always silly and instead often use their abbreviated run times to address things undeniably worth pondering. They've always been both thoughtful and heartfelt and if you aren't familiar with both incarnations, you're doing yourself a disservice.

Songs of Note: Until I Say So; Silly Me

5 Albums That Actually Know How To Make the Most of Thirty Minutes out of 5

WEEZER / Weezer (Green; 2001)

There’s nothing overtly wrong with Green, it’s just that it’s very generic. It’s entirely encircled by monumental albums, which absolutely doesn’t help its case. Thankfully, nothing here is remotely as artificial as Beverly Hills. You won’t suffer by throwing this on, on a lazy afternoon half hour while you’re doing something else that actually requires your attention. But, should you really? No. Hash Pipe exists as a prototype or prequel to Dope Nose, which is neat. Around the time that this was being promoted Scott Shriner joined the band and I just love that guy 😄

Songs of Note: No, not really, unfortunately.

1½….Wait, did he say “I got my ass wiped?” out of 5

Saturday, April 8, 2017

WEEZER / Make Believe (2005)

We're starting with this one? Yes. Yes, we fucking are. I hate Beverly Hills. It's single-bait gimmickry and it can G.T.F.O. Cut it off the same as Jonathan Davis's song on the Downpour soundtrack. The resultant album is as perfect as anything that's not Pinkerton (or Maladroit) can be. In some ways, it seems like Rivers was trying to take a basic approach like he did with Green, but accidentally fell into startlingly stirring sincerity without any undue effort. I'd personally argue that some pieces here rival Pinkerton's unabashed starkness.

Songs of Note: Damage in Your Heart; The Other Way

4½ Guys Actually Self-Aware Enough to Know What They Are out of 5

FALL OUT BOY / Infinity On High (2007)

"I love you in the same way there's a chapel in a hospital: one foot in your bedroom and one foot out the door,
sometimes we take chances, sometimes we take pills, I could write it better than you ever felt it."

That's a definite contender for my favorite verse of all time. It's not alone, here. Some of Pete's strongest couplets call this offering home. I'm even going to spot it the two bonus tracks, because I love them both. While I have to admit that there is a sloggy, schmaltzy number to contend with, this is a generally punchy and pleasing affair. If F.U.C.T. is the blue-collar workhorse, Infinity is the swaggering, faux-tipsy jaunt through No-Man's Land in deliberately rumpled tuxes.

I'm compelled to say that I sincerely wish Pete would scream longer parts more often. Don't look at me like that. You know I adore MCR.

Songs of Note: Hum Hallelujah; Bang the Doldrums

4, Because of the Flawless Extra Credit out of 5
I painted myself into a corner in the Folie nut. I'm tramping the fuck out of it. We can team up and kick Past-Neg's ass.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FALL OUT BOY / Take This To Your Grave (2003)

💞 "Pete and I attacked the laws of Astoria with promise and precision and a mess of youthful innocence 
And, I read about the afterlife, but I never really lived more than an hour" 💞

I'd have to say that this is almost assuredly the only album capable of finding me singing along even when I'm not intoxicated. That's a feat and a half. It's melodic and eviscerating. Elvis Costello, as always, is very proud. You thought his presence on Folie à Deux was random? Heh~ I would say it's an early classic of the genre but that'd open can of worms I couldn't give less of a fuck about. It's goddamn good. End of story.

Songs of Note: Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today; Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy

3½ Adamant Refusals to Use the Actual Covers out of 5

PANIC! AT THE DISCO / A Fever You Can't Sweat Out (2005)

I remember loving this. At the time, it was the Fall Out Boy album that Fall Out Boy didn't make. Now I find it...wait for it... annoyingly inconsistent. More inconsistent than FOB themselves. I see you there waiting to say that that's fitting. I. SEE. YOU. They're capable of staying above 50%. I'd now argue that Brendon manages the upper teens, AT BEST. At least he knows how to pick singles. Someday there'll be a greatest hits album worth owning. Some of these songs are just way too camp-clever for their own good. It's tiresome to hear him wax about Victorian-Era-Behind-The-Curtains nonsense at length. Small doses.

Songs of Note: Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off; I Write Sins Not Tragedies

2 Sincere Wishes That This Is Gospel Had Been Written By Someone Else out of 5
Brilliant 😂

Sunday, April 2, 2017

FASTBALL / Make Your Mama Proud (1996)

I wonder how many people even know that this exists? As soon as I was on board with All The Pain Money Can Buy, I immediately tracked this down and was blown away by how incredibly different it is from everything else they've done. The majority of what's on display is very fast and somewhat abrasive. That's not to say that the lyrics are lacking. They aren't. They're just carried along by much faster time signatures.

This consequently holds a teenage sense of nostalgia for me that's still able to be married to my long-held standards in regards to songwriting. I've always not-so-secretly hoped that they'd do something like this again, someday. A VERY special record well worth exploring if the songs of note appeal.

Songs of Note: Make Your Mama Proud; Nothing

4 Verses Max Bemis Would Be Proud Of out of 5

FASTBALL / All the Pain Money Can Buy (1998)

For a long time now, I’ve viewed this as their least successful outing. Depending on how you see things, this could be considered strange or even ironic, as it kicks off with the one song for which everyone in the world knows them. To anyone who bought this and never listened to what followed, FUCKING. SHAME. ON. YOU. There are a lot of quality tracks here and with every listen (to each of their efforts) I appreciate Miles more and more.

When properly conceptualized, their collective output is honestly far better than any single objective score of any given album could ever convey. They are unassuming geniuses.

Songs of Note: Fire Escape; Better Than It Was

3½ Doses of Blissfully Painful Honesty out of 5

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

OUR LADY PEACE / Spiritual Machines (2000)

It’s funny how the most significant and lingering concepts in Kurzweil’s carefully-penned hybrid history/textbook/novel sprang from the tiny, off-hand responses of his fictional conversation partner, Molly. The consequences of both his predicted change in the nature of humanity, and the philosophical musings given rise in those conversations are rather ethereally expanded upon here, sonically and lyrically. Raine makes the endeavor more palatable, but honestly no less haunting, when all is said and done. The requisite shadowed side of the coin was ironically delivered by the person I’d least expect.

That’s probably why I love it so much.

Songs of Note: Made to Heal; Everyone's A Junkie

5 Attempts to Convince Yourself That It’ll All Be Okay out of 5

Friday, January 20, 2017

OUR LADY PEACE / Gravity (2002)

Assuming you were born prior to 2002, you've heard Somewhere Out There. You have. And, to be honest, if you liked it (before it was played into the ground, of course), then this is a really good place to start with Our Lady Peace. It's not as lyrically intricate as the albums that preceded it, but it is equally capable of being intensely emotionally resonant. There are some absolutely stellar songs about facing and attempting to overcome our innate fragility as human beings with the help of others. Raine is everything Bono thinks he is, but decidedly IS NOT.

You are not alone. Relinquish your pain unto him.

Songs of Note: Not Enough; A Story About a Girl (no, not that one.)

4½ Letters From the Lost Days out of 5

OUR LADY PEACE / Clumsy (1997)

If you’ve heard Superman’s Dead, you may hate Raine Maida’s voice. If you’re not a native Canadian, it’s very possible that you’ve only ever heard Somewhere Out There. Either way, I pity you. While Raine’s lyrics ultimately became more accessible, they’re still deliciously obtuse here and remained so for some time to come. Don’t bother with OLP if you’re looking for an easy listen, on any level. If you step onto this carousel, you’d better be ready to both ferret out and self-interpret the meaning buried herein. Raine’s voice is titillating (especially on Car Crash) and his cryptic missives mingle with the boys’ chunky riff-rock to deliver some of my favorite songs of all time. The simultaneously spine-chilling and eye-moistening variety.

Songs of Note: Carnival; 4am

5 Lonely, But Strangely Comforting Laundromat Visits out of 5

Friday, November 18, 2016

DANNY ELFMAN / Batman: Original Motion Picture Score [1989]

In 1989 Danny Elfman was primarily known as that guy from Oingo Boingo who's composed a small handful of scores for a few quirky comedies.  Naturally no one thought he was right for the big blockbuster Batman film but thankfully director Tim Burton was the only one who rightfully had faith in the composer.
Elfman's sprawling Gothic theme of grandeur helped bring a certain level of cheeky sophistication to the film and entirely redefined the cinematic Batman figure as suitably dangerous.  The score isn't afraid to engulf itself into the darkness but not once does it lose the sense of fun and wide-eyed excitement.  It's big, bold and brassy with flavors of tragic heroism, the lonely romantic and the criminally insane.  A definitive Elfman score that no fan of the composer, Batman or scores in general should be without.

5 beautiful dreamers out of 5

Songs of Note: The Batman ThemeDescent into Mystery

It should be noted that this particular album has seen 4 separate releases but La-La Land Records' 2010 double-disc release is definitely the most comprehensive collection to date.  

RADICAL FACE / The Family Tree: The Bastards [2015]

Before the release of each installment of his Family Tree trilogy, Radical Face put out a free EP of songs that didn't quite fit with the rest of their respective albums.
The suitably titled The Bastards is a complete collection of all 11 songs in a tidy little package that is just as quality a listen as each of the trilogy albums are.  These aren't throwaway songs by any means and in fact some songs are stronger than the albums they were originally meant for, they just didn't mesh with the pacing or tonal textures of their immediate family.  They are the mismatched black sheep if you will.  Twisted and quirky but still pack in enough heart to break and mend it with warm caring tired hands.

4 lovely little lies out of 5

Songs of Note: BaptismsNightclothes

ROGER WATERS & VARIOUS ARTISTS / When the Wind Blows (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [1986]

Based upon Raymond Briggs' graphic novel, director Jimmy Murakami (who also faithfully adapted Briggs' The Snowman) was lucky to hire ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters to score When the Wind Blows.
David Bowie's title track is another highlight of the soundtrack album.  However the four remaining songs leave much to be desired if you haven't already fallen asleep.  Waters' contributions sound like a prelude to his Radio K.A.O.S. 1987 solo album and that's all right because they're simply pleasant pieces in bits or as a whole track.  It's not a must-have album but certainly a quaint little record to revisit every once in a blue moon.

3 lullabies out of 5

Songs of Note: Tower of FaithFolded Flags