PLEDGE DRIVE: The time to help in keeping ThisIsBooksMusic.com alive

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It is that time of the year where I have to bring this upbut it is that time that I have to renew my web domain once more, and I am asking for your help.

Before I talk about putting up the digital “tip cup”, let me just say that I enjoy doing what I do on my website, being able to do music and video reviews, news items of interest, and music reviews. My website has never been a means for outside advertising, although had I done that, I almost think those other links would get more hits than my actual website. I don’t post links to an older woman who looks like she smokes 40 packs of cigarettes a day and ooh, look how beautiful she appears today. I don’t offer celebrity rumors to you for the fact that I don’t care for them, and you probably know more than enoughts sites or blogs to read that kind of ephemera. If you have come to my website to find out about music or some of the food-related things I post, I am thankful you continue to make this place a regular stop of your internet travels. I would like to do this for one more year and come summer of 2016, we will see. A part of me wants to try something new and no, I’m not going to try knitting or macrame, I don’t have those type of skills. Trying something new means perhaps a new method of what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years as a writer, and that may mean to try it in a new forum, to do something in a new way. I have a year to decide but I’m leaning towards wanting to try something else other than my “norm”. Thus, let me speak about the “tip cup” for my site.

What I am placing is a “tip cup” of sorts. If you enjoy the type of coverage that I feature here at ThisIsBooksMusic.com and would like for it to continue, I am looking for your donation to continue the website for another year. If you are able to “give a tip” to ThisIsBooksMusic.com, you can do so via PayPal by clicking here. Your private information is secure when you donate via PayPal, and you are also able to make a donation even if you are not a PayPal member. The deadline is September 30th.

While it would be nice for me to run advertising on my website, ThisIsBooksMusic.com is ad-free for a reason, and I’d like to keep it that way. The music I cover is the music I would like for you to listen to and discover for yourself, and pass the information along to those who you think would be interested. This website is about the music I like, support, and listen to on a regular basis, within as many genres as possible. I don’t pick and choose just to make random choices, these are my musical habits, and I share that on a regular basis. If the website is unable to be renewed, all donations will be refunded, no questions asked. If you are able to make a donation, I would be very appreciative.

SOME STUFFS: Loggins & Messina second album, Sly & The Family Stone’s “Greatest Hits” get the SACD audiophile treatments

Audio Fidelity: Loggins & Messina/Sly & The Family Stone photo AFLogginsSly_covers_zpsyoegnicw.jpg

  • As a lifelong fan of Loggins & Messina, this new audiophile pressing on Audio Fidelity is going to be worth waiting for. Some call this the debut album by Loggins & Messina, at least by name but in truth, it’s their second album, their follow-up to the amazing 1971 album Sittin’ In. For most fans of pop music, this is the album that features their biggest and arguably only hit, “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. However, this album is also known for a number of key album tracks, including the amazing “Angry Eyes” (later covered by The Pointer Sisters), along with “Thinking Of You” and “Golden Ribbons”. This 1972 album helped keep the band on the charts and on the radio, with “Your Mama Don’t Dance” still getting airplay 43 years later.

    Steve Hoffman did the remaster on the regular CD audio.

  • Released in 1970, Sly & The FamilY Stone’s Greatest Hits was released while Epic Records was waiting for new music from Sly and friends. His performance at Woodstock in 1969 had been released in the film in March of 1970 and they wanted to be sure he would supply fans with new music. He wasn’t working on that pace, or any pace. Some have said Sly was working on what would become There’s A Riot Goin’ On but whatever was happening, it wasn’t driving him to finish anything new. Epic Records decided to do what was best by putting together a compilation of all of the hits Sly & The Family Stone had between 1967 and 1969 and give it to fans, which helped. As the saying goes, most greatest hits albums are usually the sign of death for an artist but not with Sly, for many of those songs were still getting a lot of airplay on many radio stations.

    The interesting thing about the Greatest Hits package is that a lot of the singles were mono only, in that proper stereo mixes were not made, since they weren’t intended for release on an album, back when it was customary to release mono and stereo mixes. What Epic Records did was “electronically reprocess” some songs to be fake stereo, so one channel had a lot of high end, the other channel had a lot of low end. Then something happened. A few years later, when quadraphonic albums were the hip thing to do, they went to the multi-tracks to make all new mixes for the album. In the process, by making quad mixes in stereo for the vinyl pressing, it essentially was the first time three songs made their stereo debut, including “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”, and “Hot Fun In The Summertime”. For the longest time, the quad mix became the hit album to get for those who preferred hunting down true stereo mixes. Slightly different stereo mixes were later released on compilation albums in the 80’s and 90’s but now you’ll be able to it in all of its true quadraphonic glory on the SACD. No word on if the stereo or quad-in-stereo mix was remastered.

    (Mahalo nui to Tom Hayes for the tip on both discs.)

  • VIDEO: Klassik’s “Hi Klass”

    Hi Klass (Official Video) from Klass Act Production LLC on Vimeo.

    Klassik’s new release is called Seasons and if you have it and found a liking to it, you may find this new video to be a treat. It’s the second single from it and it’s called “Hi Klass”, which could be read as something/someone who is “high class” or merely someone saying “hello, Klass”. Of course, if you don’t know which is the correct answer, go ahead and press play on the video. It will do you no harm.

    SOME STUFFS: Gaytheist and ᴚABBITS split album to be released in just under three weeks

    Gaythiest/ᴚABBITS photo GAYBITS_cover_zpsvnor6vyl.jpg
    As reported two months ago, the gents in Gaytheist and ᴚABBITS will be releasing a split album on Good To Die Records and we’re now closer to that moment, August 21st to be exact. The album will be called GAY*BITS and everyone involved has decided to share a track. ᴚABBITS offer their song called “Ready To Right”, which you can listen to by going to RevolverMag.com while Gaytheist tell you why you should “Run To Away From Home”, which you can hear over at GearGods.net.

    REVIEW: Tom Dyer’s New Pagan Gods’ “History Of Northwest Rock Vol. 1 (1959-1968)”

    Tom Dyer photo TomDyer_cover_zpsccugrsdl.jpg For Tom Dyer’s new album, he has gathered a few musicians, called them the New Pagan Gods and paid tribute to the old Pagan Gods, specifically the Gods of Seattle rock’n’roll at the dawn of the music up here in the Pacific Northwest.

    If you are a longtime resident of the Northwest, you have no doubt heard many of these songs Dyer and friend have chosen to cover on History Of Northwest Rock Vol. 1 (1959-1968), and there may even be a few that you didn’t know had a connection to the Pacific Northwest. He begins the album with a nice version of The Sonics’ “The Witch”, which was also covered nicely by The Mummies. You might see the title “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and think “wait, Ringo wasn’t from the city of Bremerton” but instead, this rare song was originally performed b Tiny Tony & The Statics on an obscure 45 many collectors continue to hunt for. “Dirty Robber” is attacked quite nicely and fans of The Mummies will also recognize this song too. Here, Dyer pays tribute to Tacoma and the group who made it first, The Wailers. They are given a double tribute with a rendition of the beastly “Out Of Our Tree”, also covered nicely by The Mummies.

    The album ends with an awesome version of The Dimensions’ “She’s Boss” but by going through these songs, it’s a way to hear what the Pacific Norhtwest music scene was as it managed to keep itself within semi-obscurity for a few decades as it recorded some of the best songs by some of the best people around. Dyer gets a chance to honor those who came before in the hopes younger audiences will continue on with their new spirit for the future. The album is not only a celebration of incredible garage rock, but rock’n’roll in general, pre-B.S.

    REVIEW: Jimm McIver’s “Sunlight Reaches”

     photo JimmMcIver_cover_zpsc1varpwl.jpg Jimm McIvey has finally released his new album called Sunlight Reaches (Green Monkey) and while I was given a few hints for what he was coming up with, this one is a bit eased up than I expected, but that’s a good thing.

    It has been a decade since McIvey released his last album but Sunlight Reaches merely sounds like the kind of music that had been there waiting to be brewed and surfaced, and it’s here. It’s the kind of well written songs with a nice rock and pop blend that comes from someone who truly has a love for the music and the craft in putting it together. It doesn’t have an eclectic side that Todd Rundgren is known for but they both share some of the clever characteristics that you can also hear in music by Marshall Crenshaw and Let’s Active. The songs tell everything about love found, love seeking, life stretching and life living, you could easily imagine someone like Paul McCartney wanting to come over to his house and say “I really enjoy what you’re doing, mate.” Whatever sunlight McIver hopes to reach, the walk towards feeling the warmth is what makes this work very well.

    REVIEW: Tunto’s “Huvi”

    Tunto photo Tunto_cover_zpszp43nixo.jpg While one website I spotted this album on called Huvi (Aani) weird jazz, I call the music by Tunto exploratory jazz, for this is nothing close to what I would call weird. Adventurous? Yes it is.

    If it is indeed different, it has to do with the type of instruments played. You will hear the charango, a balalaika, and a baglama along with an ‘ukulele, clarinets, mandolins, and guitars, a nice blend of the traditional and the atypical. It comes off like a bunch of guys walking to a folk festival, wanting to sit around and jam and no one knows what they’re about to do. What they do is make music that sounds festive and filled with elements that are true to the standards of jazz while being culture as well, showing their Finnish origins. You might wonder what it would sound like to dig your head full of ukus but you get to enjoy the possibilities with “Lice Picking Music”, or enjoy what it means to get down with “King Kong Music” or “Couscous Music”. The titles are just as unpredictable as the music itself and while it may make you question of its origins, you just take it in, consume, and relax into things. The next time you hear from Tunto, they may end up doing something completely opposite, whatever the opposite of anything is.

    REVIEW: Craig Marshall’s “After All”

    Craig Marshall photo CraigMarshall_cover_zpsggtbe8o2.jpg Austin, Texas musician Craig Marshall has released his new album (his sixth) called After All (Big Ticket) and if you are someone who likes their brand of music on the down home side with hints of country, folk, and an acoustic spirit, you’ll really like this.

    What I like about this is it reminds me immediately of music I am familiar with and enjoy, be it Neil Young, Wilco, Little Feat, and Wilco, and it leans very much on the country side of things, or what many will call Americana, an old school spirit. These are songs that are well written and produced, and they tell the kind of stories that you want to believe not only to hear it from Marshall, but because they feel like something you can relate to it because they’re a part of your story too. He cites Bucks Owens and Merle Haggard as influences and as someone who is a huge Owens fan, I can hear it in songs like “The Only Sound” and “In Can’t Begin To Know”, where the adventures told are part of the experience, the other is to hear how the stories are explained. The songs that I got into are those featuring harmony vocals from Betty Soo, those stood out beautifully well (including the opening cut, “Standing Still”) but you’ll also hear Marshall joined with Jason Garcia, Shane Cooley and Noëlle Hampton throughout.

    As the bio for the album states, this is song-driven music, for those who still believe in the power of a song that moves you. After All will become the album you’ve been searching for for awhile.

    (After All will be released on August 7th.)

    REVIEW: Snow In Mexico’s “Juno Beach” (EP)

    Snow In Mexico photo SnowInMexico_cover_zps1crvyve7.jpg The music on a new EP by electronic duo Sonw In Mexico sounds like a mixture of early New Order with Giorgio Moroder, easily dancefloor friendly will being something that has the potential of being used in motion pictures. That’s what makes up the songs on Juno Bleach (Saint Marie), where things can be considered luxuriously haunting or eerily beautiful. Most of the vocals are a bit distant, they are clear but they are not upfront or always obvious. It’s packed with echo and reverb so it’s deliberately away but you bring in the songs to know what they’re saying. I’m not sure what they plan on doing in the future but I’ll be here to find out where they go to next.

    (The Juno Beach EP can be ordered in a number of formats directly from Saint Marie Records)