Monthly Music – March

This month we have NIN and Deadmau5 – UPDATE and A Fine Frenzy

Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine Remastered (industrial)

No this was not the first time I had heard Pretty Hate Machine. I’d been introduced to Nine Inch Nails in middle school and have long singe worn out my cassette copy of PHM. Broken was one of my very first day one purchases (again on cassette) and my fandom of NIN has never really diminished in all of these years.

So when I heard Reznor was remastering Pretty Hate Machine i was interested. Let’s be clear, this is a remaster, not a re-release or anniversary edition. And it sounds like it. From the first moments of Head Like a Hole to the last of Ringfinger the sound quality has just been improved all over. It is as if I had never stopped listening to that cassette tape and only now was hearing the CD edition of Pretty Hate Machine.

(it also has “Get Down Make Love” which I was never a fan of… but it is there.)

If it has been a while, or you never got around to getting PHM on CD, now is the time.

Deadmau5 – 4 X 4 = 12 (techno, electro, trance, whatever you want to call it)

I find a lot of music these days due to Slacker radio. If you haven’t started using it (or Pandora) I suggest you start. Listening to the Trance station on Slacker can be dangerous to my wallet.

I’d not heard of Deadmau5 until last year listening to Slacker. Most of the songs that came up on the station I marked as favorites. Still I floundered on buying an album.

Then I saw 4 X 4 = 12 at the store and went for it. A few seconds into the first song and I was happy with my decision.

I’ll not get into an extended philosophical topic on genre definitions, but as a whole 4 X 4 is heavier than normal trance. Still it is engaging, danceable and, as to be expected, best heard with the volume turned up. Solid through and through, this album will be hanging around my playlists for a while.

side note; if were a dance/trance dj of sorts i’d make it so the last song mixed into the first, so that if your cd player (like mine) just starts over, you get into a loop. I’d call it Möbius. i expect this idea to be stolen ASAP so i can go buy this album. (so get to work!)

UPDATE: A Fine Frenzy – One Cell in the Sea (Pop, uh, i think)

I did not buy this in March, but was listening to it this morning and wanted to put it in here anyway. This album popped up on my “Amazon thinks you’d like this…” list and I’ll admit I clicked on the album and started listening because there was a cute redhead on the cover. What can I say? I like cute redheads.

Well, I am glad I did. I’ve had the album since January and I love it. Lighter piano and guitar pop– that cute redhead has a fantastic voice. All the songs are good, and (much to the dismay of my office mates) I’ll find myself singing along. While “Come on, Come Out” and “Almost Lover” are my favorites, I don’t fast forward through any songs. Often I’ll just hit “Play” again after it is done.

This one I recommend for the Tori, Sarah, Fiona, Dido fans. Check it out, even if redheads aren’t really your thing.

Monthly Music – February

In the efforts to add on one more thing I want to do, I’ve decided to start a mini review of music here. Why is that? I love music. I listen to it most of my day. But I’ve noticed my recent purchasing to be sporadic and, well, safe.

So here is the plan. Each month I’ll buy two albums and post a mini review here. Only rule is that one has to be fairly new. No limits on genre or theme, which is good. My taste in music is pretty much all over the place.

I’ll be tagging this monthlymusic if you want to follow along at home.


Eminem – Recovery (Rap / Hip Hop)

I’ll admit, while I have always liked Eminem, this is the first album of his I have bought. While the radio songs and the bits of albums I’d heard at other’s houses were good, they just didn’t grab me in that “I must have this!” sort of way. I do own the 8 Mile soundtrack. “Lose yourself” was the Eminem song that I’d been waiting for since I heard the Slim Shady LP. After hearing that song I wanted more Marshall, less Shady.

So I suspect it is a bit funny then that the first album of his I buy I didn’t even listen to first. Rather I just got it on impulse. And it is good. There is still a bit of the humor side in the work, but for the most part it is angry and more personal than simply making fun of boy bands.

The story told is one of someone picking themselves back up from getting off of drugs, of stepping back up. The album talks about making up for things in the past, as well as leaving some things behind.

And the lyrics are cutting, angry and fantastic. One of my favorite is “the last thing you want to do is have me spit out a rhyme and say when I wrote this I was thinking of you.” And you know it is true. Shady or Marshall, Eminem is wrong in all the right ways.

So if you are not easily offended, turn it up. If you are, turn it up louder, it will be good for you.

All That Remains – For We Are Many (Metal)

I got Overcome by ATR at a suggestion of a friend (funny enough, I can’t seem to remember who…) and it sat unlistened for quite a bit on my shelf. Sure I played it on the way home and put it on iTunes, but for the most part ignored it. If memory serves I was on a huge Tupac kick at the time, so that may have contributed to the delay.

Anyway, after its slow start, Overcome has been played quite a bit. And I am grateful to whomever it was that suggested it.

I saw “For We Are Many” come up on my Amazon suggestions, and grabbed it. It was listened to more immediately. The album is solid metal and great driving music. I’m still listening a bit to it, but I’ll admit I do like Overcome a bit more. This album is good, but there is just something a bit tighter about the other album.

Still it was well worth it and it lives in the current album rotation.

Bonus (since it is the first month…)
Norah Jones – …Featuring (Jazz / All Over The Place)

I’ve been in love with Norah Jones since I found her first album in a Borders. She wasn’t famous yet, no Grammy, just a pretty face on a discounted CD and I thought “what the hell.” Turned out to be one of the better choices I have made in my life.

…Featuring is a guest CD but with a twist. From Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, to the Foo Fighters and Q Tip, the guest on each song is Norah herself.

And it is a good album. Norah steps out of her box for a bit and lets the other artists introduce her other genres. The genre’s on the album are all over the place, from jazz, country, rock and hip hop.

So while the experimentations were fun, where she really shines is in the jazz and old country western sounds.

The New In This Moment Album

(oops! this was supposed to be posted a while ago. sorry!)

When I first found out about In This Moment I thought I had found a small slice of heaven here on this Earth. A metal band with a chick singer. And not just a chick singer, but an “I’M GONNA RIP YOUR FACE OFF” chick singer. I heard Daddy’s Fallen Angel on the radio and couldn’t get to the record store fast enough.

I got the album and was not disappointed (well, except for the fact it was short). Daddy’s Fallen Angel definatly woke up my neighborhood a few times, and Circles became my own ironic workout song.

So when The Dream came on Tuesday (30 September, 2008), I got it. No questions, no reviews, walked in and bought it without thinking about it. I put it in my car stereo and turn it up ready for it, waiting for it. The first song is an intro similar to what “Beautiful Tragedy” had. This was a bit more of an Indian/Middle Eastern sound, like something you’d hear on a Delerium album. I was ready for it.

And what I got was a bit different than what I expected. Rather than the deep crunch of the first album what came out took me by surprise. My first reaction was “what is this?” The album was slower, softer, and seemingly more radio friendly. This was not what I was expecting, not what I wanted. Don’t get my wrong, it is still metal, but more of a Metallica metal, rather than a Lamb of God one.

I didn’t just dismiss it, though. I left it in my disc payer and listened to it a few times more. I found a solid, well made metal album with a much more refined sound than its predecessor. The band that made “The Dream” had come into itself more than the one that made “Beautiful Tragedy”. I thought to check changes in writers or producers, but in the end it is what comes out of the speakers that is important. “The Dream” delivers, even if it is a different package than “Beautiful Tragedy”. I found myself turning it up loud, and perhaps even shifting for emphasis during several of the songs.

The verdict? Buy it. Really, it was great. Yes, I still put in “Beautiful Tragedy” and wish for its spiritual successor, for ITM to turn it up again, but “The Dream” delivered an album experience I can’t turn off.