Archive for the ‘Author blabber’ Category

Putting the Discs in Boxes … For Now

June 12, 2013 Leave a comment


Though I have not been writing for this blog during the past few months I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit, so I wanted to chip in with a note.  Unfortunately, due to life events and a curbing of some musical appetite, I am going to put the blog on hiatus (as if it wasn’t already).  I have really enjoyed writing music reviews over the past few years and do hope to return sometime soon when there’s a free half hour or so lying around.  If you’ve been reading some reviews of mine, thanks for your time and comments.  I hope you found some new/old cheap music to listen to when looking into any of the bands covered here.  Remember, just because an album isn’t hyped, popular, or even heard of doesn’t mean it isn’t any good.  Keep searching out new music without the glossy cover or the stylish look and you’re sure to unearth an affordably good band!

Categories: Author blabber

“No One Buys CDs Anymore” … Myth or the Hard Truth?

July 16, 2012 Leave a comment

No, not interested anymore?

Within the past week I have had two people tell me that no one buys CDs anymore.  They said it in a casual, matter of fact way as if I was obviously going to nod my head in utter agreement.  I smiled (grimaced?) knowingly, but the reaction was meant to hide the secret of my truth.  Geez, I buy CDs all the time and in bunches.  I can’t imagine it to be so, but perhaps I am one of the rare people who still value the lightweight, slightly rectangular plastic media.  A few years back this switch to non-physical preference might have been scoffed at, or at least considered still a ways off, but the facts of 2012 have been revealed.

According to an article by Gigwise posted around two months ago, CD sales have been surpassed by digital downloads at least in the United Kingdom.  The financial amounts appear in pounds and UK record labels are referenced, but it is most likely that something similar has already occurred in the United States.  Hey, convenience always wins, so everyone probably saw this coming with the technology boom going on.  In addition, whenever sought after items are only worth a dollar (erm, I understand this feeling) it is understandable that such items fly off the virtual shelves.  To get that Top 40 tune that gets repeated over and over, how can you not be willing to shell out a dollar to listen to it even more often?  Even with the instant access to songs and albums, does that mean that the purchasing of physical media is truly on the outs?

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Self-Reflection: Bargains Vs. Busts

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Something that has lingered in my mind every time I write a review is my evaluation of my own critique.  In life I like to believe that I am open-minded and am willing to give everything a chance.  Just the other day a friend of mine said he wanted a group of people to go out for Ethiopian food.  I immediately paused and tried to recall if I ever had Ethiopian food before and, if I had, whether I liked it or not.  My friend looked at the obvious consternation on my face and declared that hey, I’ll probably like it since he knows I’ve tried many types of cuisine before.  Well that was nice to hear!  Considering I had no idea what to expect, it turned out that I enjoyed the meal even without the utensils.  So, perhaps I tend to find something good out of most situations even if the original outlook might seem worrisome.

This seems to be the case with my music reviews as well.  Looking at my Past Reviews there has to be something like a 3:1 ratio of Bargains:Busts.  Either I am selling everyone a load of goods when it comes to my reviews or I am actually finding quite a lot of fine albums for very cheap.  If I was quick to judge then it might be the former, but I have to stand by the fact that I am being honest with my reviews.  I sometimes have to slog through a record two or three times just to find something to write about that doesn’t resemble hate or apathy.  There are quite a few times when I wish I had the guts to just write “Ah, it was alright around the middle but a few songs were just awful.” and be done with it.  Giving things a few listens seems to conjure up remote feelings of interest, so maybe that is why some Bargains arose from The Rest and, of course, much of The Rest from the depths of Busts.

Perhaps I should wield more of an iron fist?  Declare that two or three tracks are not enough to save an album from widespread (okay, village-like spread) shunning?  I could do that.  I could point at a rack of dollar bin records and, before even listening to them, declare that it is likely that 80% of it is an improper use of plastic and disc-making machines.  But man, that would be terribly dishonest.  There’s tons of great music out there, even in those two or three tracks amidst the dreck of ill-conceived ideas that make up an album.  I’m not sure how many of these albums that I deem listenable are truly front-to-back worthy of spinning for most people, but I think they should get at least one run through to hear what I’m talking about.  Maybe there’s a few songs that should get another spin at that.

Going forward, I feel that the 3:1 ratio will likely stay the same if not branch wider into a 4:1 ratio.  I’m sure there will still be albums that I won’t be able to recommend to anybody, but as with every review, it’s only my opinion.  My … traditionally optimistic opinion, that is.

The Hiatus

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Hey all, I’m back.  Sort of.  I do wish I could say that in the past couple of months I was occupying one of those two chairs in that picture, but in fact I was in the same old place of frigid New England.  I suppose I took a self-imposed vacation from a few things, mainly due to work and the upcoming baseball season.  Yeah, I’m a big baseball fan.  Not sure what I like better actually … music or baseball.  Well, that’s an article for another day, right?  In the meantime, if you had heard rumors that a band that broke up in 2005 that got a golden trash can award abducted me and made me listen to their subsequently horrid albums, it is not true.  I keep my doors locked at night just in case, though.

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The Court of Flippant Reviews Adjourns!

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

After a long recess the Court of Flippant Reviews makes its final decision!  After the previous two installments I am ready to hang up my robe in the coat room ($2 coat check fee … eye gougers!).  I have cobbled together the last of a few records that I have yet to review after getting them mailed to me unprovoked.  It is time to sentence these albums as I see fit, even if it fits me to see these reviewed quite quickly.  Alright baliff, push ’em all up to the stand will you?  Defend yourselves!

The gavel comes down:

  • The Devil Whale “Teeth” – Mostly soft pop music with a bright element, but rarely is there anything with a kick to shake one out of the comfortable state.  “Magic Numbers” at least has a little zing.
  • The National Rifle “Vanity Press” – Big skull on the cover does not mean scary or heavy music from this duo.  Band has some great rock energy thanks to interesting compositions and dynamic vocalist.  Pretty good!
  • Panic Years “Finally, Today is Tomorrow” – Vocalist sometimes sounds like Cobain at his most pained, though music is mid-range alternarock.  Some nice sounds here and there, but no real lasting impression.
  • Imaginary Cities “Temporary Resident” – Vocalist and band sound a little like Portishead early, but then show they can veer towards rock and light pop.  These guys sound great throughout the record.
  • Moddi “Floriography” – Ultra, ultra soft and peaceful music.  Think Iron and Wine.  Not my thing at all since it bores me to tears.
  • Tic Tic Boom “Reasons & Rhymes EP” – Hey, fun electronic pop rock!  I even like the female vocalist, whose voice doesn’t sound too annoying or cutesy.  Not so sure about the band name, though.
  • The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment “The Fluffer” – Pleasant singer-songwriter stuff that includes a lot of keyboards and sound effects.  Doesn’t sound like he’s trying too hard to pour on the emotion, which is a good thing.

It seems that the verdict for my final (as of now) installment of the Court of Flippant Reviews is that there were a couple of good ones.  This comes as a surprise since the last couple of sessions ended with difficult mixed bags.  I think I’m definitely going to try and follow up on what the National Rifle and Imaginary Cities are up to thanks to the quick gavel of approval.

As for you, members of the audience, I ask that if you’re going to learn anything from this Court’s methods, it’s to be open to listening to music from any artist no matter how unknown.  Sure, after a few minutes you’ll know if it’s for you or not.  However, if you find something interesting in 1 out of 5 albums you listen to then consider yourself in happier musical shape than the next guy.

And to all of you still lingering in the aisles making eyes at my stenographer, out with you!  The Court of Flippant Reviews is now adjourned!

Two Years! Two Years!

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Two years, two chicks, two wild hats! CRAZY TIIIMES!

So here’s how it went down.  Upon realizing that it was the eve of this blog’s two year anniversary of existence I wanted to go all out to celebrate.  I knew that the mere fact that I have been writing reviews of forgotten music has easily qualified me for the Internet’s Hall of Historically Important Lore, so I wanted to pull out all of the stops and spend tons of dough on a HUGE party!

Early today I called up this really ritzy club in Boston and said I planned on getting 200 of my friends and readers together.  We wanted to arrive in limousines while decked out in crisp Hot Topic gear, and I wanted to make sure we had kegs of root beer a’flowin’ at the club by the time we got there.  Well, the club wanted a lot of money ($2,000 for a half hour) and I figured ah, who needs a club anyway?  I’ll go spend my money on some great food instead for my great guests!

I staked out multiple restaurants in the area to see who could accommodate my 200 hardcore partymongers.  They all said “You must be crazy” and I said that yes I was and that I planned crazy parties.  Unfortunately, no one was willing to take on all of my people for a Friiiidaaaay niiiight! (said while leaning back and waving both hands in the air) Yeah okay, that’s fine too.  Let’s just get the people together and we’ll figure someplace out to bombard with bodies.

I then created an Evite entitled “Dollar Bin Lays a Deuce!” and enticed people with free dollar bin CDs, gallons of root beer, and my treasured company.  It must have been a real busy day for people, for out of the 200 people I invited 152 said No, 47 said Maybe, and 1 person said Yes.  That person was me.  But I was totally there and banked on the 47 Maybes as surefire boogie downers later that night.

Well, the night came and I got 47 text messages that said they were at some ritzy club in Boston and couldn’t make it, sorry.  Dang!  Looking at me and the other party guest (me in a mirror), I decided to go to a last minute Jimmy Buffett cover band concert at a Coat of Arms.  My reasoning was that I might as well watch someone else party, I guess.  I ordered a cheeseburger and, burger in hand, waited for the band to come on.  Then I spotted these two chicks with wild hats in the front row.  I walked up to them and said, hey ladies, did you know that today is the two year anniversary for my Rummaging Through the Dollar Bin music blog?

And they went APESH*T CRAZY!

I managed to snag the above picture with my cell phone before I was attacked by the equivalent of savage harpies (for all you Greek mythologists out there reading).  I mean, they started grabbing my clothes, my hair, my eyeballs … I did not know that these two women just happened to be my biggest fans *and* liked Jimmy Buffett a whole lot.  I scrambled out of that place in tatters, realizing too late that my cheeseburger was in their clutches.  I had to let it go (r.i.p) and managed to grab a cab home.

It may not have been the 200 person mayhem party that I was thinking of, and I may or may not have been winked at by the cabbie, but I gotta tell ya … I can’t wait for three years, baby.

Letting Go: My First Foray Into Selling Used CDs

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

It is true, the painful anguish of selling music really does feel like being fed to a sumo wrestler.

This blog is entirely built around the idea of buying CDs, so rare is the time when I actually try and sell them back.  Some of you might even say it is blasphemy to return music, for one should always try experience an album through repeated listening, song background research, and artist appreciation.  Uh huh.  Well there has come a time when the plastic and paper has taken up a little too much space in the apartment.  I have already tried to convince the wife to throw out some things or to sell some things or anything, really, that didn’t involve my stuff.  But alas, it was my stuff that was causing the visual distress.  Therefore, it was time to sell some of them.

I have a lot of CDs as it is.  There are many, many that I would not think of parting with.  Truthfully, the only way they would all be gone from my sight would be if I suddenly became deeply in love with digital music.  My views on that is a conversation for another time, but needless to say it ain’t gonna happen.  There are quite a few records that I no longer listen to mainly due to changing tastes, changing times, or a bad case of accumulation (which I wrote about here).  After giving many of them one last look, I stuffed about eighty or so CDs into two reusable shopping bags with plans on selling them.  These discs consisted of discs from my days in the nineties as well as old dollar bin purchases that didn’t pan out.  With even more consisting of those promotional freebies detailed in my Court of Flippant Reviews (1, 2), I set off to see what I could get.

Will the hero actually gain any money from this adventure?  Does he really think anyone would actually buy his dusty Guns N Roses CDs?!  Read on, skeptical traveler …

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