Category Archives: Music

A Gaggle of Aluminium-coated Polycarbonate

It was my umpteenth birthday recently, so to commiserate I just had to buy some music to dull the pain. Here is what I have amassed…


Pearl Jam – No Code
One of the bands I am slowly collecting the album discography of is Pearl Jam, a band I like, but not a lot. This is their fourth album after Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy, which are all good albums. This album though seems to be where Pearl Jam became just an ordinary band as this one did not grab me, and none since. A middle-of-the-road five out of ten.


Suede – Dog Man Star
On the cover this says “The London Suede” which is the name for Suede in the U.S. for reasons why I cannot find on the interwebs. Like the Pearl Jam album this did not grab me much, their first album is a lot better. Perhaps I have to warm to these two albums, but for the time being this gets a vanilla six out of eleven.


Bad Religion – No Substance
Another band I am collecting albums from. This album gets mixed reviews, but I find it to be quite listenable, and besides this band hasn’t really changed their sound much over the years so they can’t really get any better or any worse. The cover is not a good one though, usually Bad Religion have some good covers. A solid seven out of eleven.


Southern Culture on the Skids – Dirt Track Date
This is a band I had been aware of for a long time, but passed them by which I shouldn’t have as they are very entertaining. Their albums are rare used, but I shall seek out more. An easy nine out of eleven.


Elastica – Elastica
Another band that I have not really paid much attention to, and again it turned out to be a very decent listen. I really must diverge out a bit more and try more bands. A delectable eight out of eleven.


EMF – Unexplained EP
We moved house recently, and I discovered to my delight that there is a place just a few minutes walk away that sells used CD’s, DVD’s, and comics, so I had to check it out. There is a decent collection of music CD’s there, and I found this one for just 50 yen, a veritable bargain.

I wasn’t really into EMF back in the day, except for their song “Unbelievable” which was a catchy tune in the day. This EP doesn’t change things, it is quite unmemorable. A cheap three out of eleven.


The Divine Comedy – A Short Album About Love
I also found this at the new place for 300 yen. I like this band a lot, so I quickly put it in my clutches. It turns out though that I may already have it as when I got home I checked my music player and it was there. I then checked my music spreadsheet and it was there too. But, looking through my actual collection in my CD shelf it does not appear to be there. A mystery. Anyway, this is top stuff of course. A meaty nine out of eleven.

Music count 2018: 36

Punky dub techno mashup vibes


After buying that Green Day singles box a few weeks back I came across the “Minority” single at Book Off, so thought I may as well add it to the Green Day collection. My Green Day discography now equals my Manic Street Preachers collection at twenty CDs in all.


Poking around Bandcamp today I came across a compilation called “In Dub We Trust” for only 82 yen. With 30 songs I couldn’t resist buying it. I would describe it as dub techno, and what I have heard is pretty good.


I have decided to add free downloads to my posts (previously I only wrote about music that I have bought), starting with a compilation of punk bands released this year by a label called Rockstar Records. Again, I have not had a good listen, but the quick browse through the songs shows that it is a decent download.


These are a couple of mashup releases, both free on Bandcamp. I like a good mashup, so I couldn’t pass them up. The second one contains 61 tracks. Click on the cover images to go to the Bandcamp page, and treat yourself to fine mashup sounds.

Music count 2018: 29

A Scanty Assemblage of Aural Pleasures

The musical purchases are still somewhat on the thin side recently, with only three to speak of at the moment.

Senses Fail – Pull The Thorns From Your Heart
I was looking through the discography of this band recently and found that I needed to add a few of their more recent releases to my collection. So, I bought this 2015 album used on Amazon. It is the same old Senses Fail, who pretty much tend not to change their sound much. Senses Fail are described as a “melodic hardcore” band on Wikipedia, which is reasonably accurate although I think Emo-core would be a bit more appropriate. This is another good album from them.

Green Day – Singles Box
Another band that I am working through is Green Day. I saw this in Book Off a couple of days ago and thought it would be nice to have even though I already have most of the songs on various rarity albums. Most of the songs are from the first and second albums, and have various other tracks on each CD. There are seven discs in all, and this was released in Japan only, so for 500 yen (the price of a Chicken Cheese burger set at McD’s), I thought it would be a nice addition to my collection. And indeed it is. Unfortunately the Green Day mobile phone strap that was originally included in the box was not there, but that is to be expected when buying used. I don’t use mobile phone straps anyway, and besides smartphones these days are not strapable.

Burial – Subtemple
Before writing this post I thought that only two music purchases just wasn’t enough, so I bought this EP from my fave dubstep/ambient artist on Bandcamp to beef up the post a bit and to get some choice music in the process. I have not listened to it yet, but the samples I heard on Bandcamp were pure Burial, that is to say sublime atmospheric sounds that somehow pass off as music.

Album count 2018: 24

A Smattering of Sounds

I have not added much to the music collection recently, but here is what I have purchased recently…

Sugar Ray – 14:59
I have been a closet Sugar Ray fan for some time, not a huge fan I declare, but nonetheless I appreciate their upbeat songs and sense of humour. This album starts off with a short and amusing track called “New Direction” which is basically a death metal song with Mark McGrath (he was funny in Sharknado) attempting to do metal growls but ends up coughing. The rest of the album is a mixture of pop, rock, and ballads that will make you feel like getting into a convertible car with your mates, turn up the tunes and wave your arms about as you drive along a beach road on a hot day, stopping for an ice cream with your loved one, then having a huge water fight.

Burial – Rodent
Burial is a one man band from London who makes some of the finest ambient dubstep you will ever hear. He decided a few years ago to only release singles instead of making full albums, which I think is a good idea. I hadn’t checked up on his work for a while, so I went to Bandcamp last week and found a few new releases and bought this one. Like all of his work it is atmospheric and very chill stuff. I like a lot. Best listened to in the dark with headphones.

Emapea – Zoning Out Volume 1
I did a search on Bandcamp for “dubstep” and chanced upon this release. I had never heard of Emapea (from Poland) before, but as Bandcamp made this available as a pre-release for only one dollar I thought I may as well order it. It was released two days ago and I am now listening to it. It is a mixture of hip hop and chill, mostly instrumental. Worth much more than a dollar I must say, and is now $10 as a normal release.

And that is all for now, not much, but all good stuff.

Album count 2018: 21

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

This is a 208 minute documentary about George and his life before, during, and after The Beatles.

And despite the long running time it is interesting all the way through (although I did watch this in three sessions). There is plenty of archival footage, a lot of which I have never seen before, interviews with several people including Paul, Ringo (very funny at times), Eric Clapton, his wife Olivia, Ravi Shankar, Phil Spector (before he went to prison), Jane Birkin, Patty Boyd, Eric Idle, Tom Petty, and plenty more.

A lot of the film looked at his spiritual beliefs and how it made it’s way into his music. There were various interviews with him and he seemed like a very decent chap, very down to earth, and bit of a rebel in some ways. Just the like the other Beatles he got a bit annoyed with the others towards the end and was just as tired as being a Beatle as the others, although it seems later in life he missed his fab four days.

Nothing was mentioned about his plagiarism problem with “My Sweet Lord” even though they did spend some time on the song. It seems he genuinely did not intentionally copy the original song “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons, at least not consciously, but the similarities are obvious.

So this is a very worthwhile watch for Gerorge fans, and Beatles fans.

Date watched: January 29th and 30th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 8

A smörgåsbord of music purchases

In the last couple of weeks or so I have gathered seven CD albums. Here they are in no particular order:


U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind
I started collecting U2 albums last year for no reason. I am not a huge fan of U2, but some of their stuff is quite good. This, their tenth album, is quite listenable but nothing overly special.


R.E.M. – Reveal
Another band I have been filling in the discography blanks is R.E.M. This is their twelfth album, released in 2001. It sounds like R.E.M., a good thing.


Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
I bought this and the following two CDs at Hard Off (a secondhand shop place) in the 100 yen bin. I have not listened to this yet, but I am thinking it will be quite decent.


Third Eye Blind – Blue
I pretty much know nothing of this band, I was just familiar with the name, so I thought for 100 yen I might as well check it out. I have not listened to the whole album yet, but I did have a quick listen to snippets and thought it sounded quite all right.


Veruca Salt – Eight Arms to Hold You
As with Third Eye Blind I thought this would be worth checking out. I have only listened to snippets with this too, but it seems worthy.


R.E.M. – Around the Sun
I learned last Thursday that a Book Off I occasionally go to were having 50% off all CDs under 500 yen in the weekend, so I made a trip there on Sunday and bought this and the next album. I have not listened to this yet, but reviews on the internet are not too good, so I may be disappointed unfortunately. A quick listen reveals little, but it may not be that bad.


The Chemical Brothers – Surrender
I have been looking around for this album for quite some time as it is one of the last albums I need for my Chemical Brothers collection. I have heard this before and it is fabs just like all of their other albums. I just need Born in the Echoes, their latest album, to complete their album discography.

Album count 2018: 18

The Man Who Would Be Polka King

The title of this film got me hooked, especially the “polka” part because I like a little polka every so often.

This is the true story of Jan Lewan, a Polish immigrant who wanted to make it big in America, so he decided he was going to be the Kurt Cobain of polka (without the drugs and attitude).

The story though turns bad as he basically starts a ponzi scheme to fund his polka world domination plans. It is actually another very depressing story of a musician who goes off the rails a bit, but at least he doesn’t die (although he almost did in jail).

It is hard to feel sorry for him even though he seemed to be a happy and genuine guy who just wanted to realise his dreams, but he just went in too deep. It is also hard to feel sorry for some of the people, mostly retired persons, who invested a lot of their money into something that was obviously a bit dodgy right from the start. It was pure greed. When asked in interviews by the director about what happened in prison to him (he was shivved and barely survived), they just got plain nasty and wished openly that he had died.

The whole thing was shot in a kind of 1980’s style video-taped look which suited the story, and at only 69 minutes it is an easy watch. There is a comedy film based on this story on Netflix starring Jack Black, so with the background story fresh in my mind I will watch it next.

Jan is now out of prison and is back into his polka, I would say very much on the straight and narrow this time.

Date watched: January 26th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2018: 6

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