How to Review Like You’re Running Out of Time

I haven’t posted in a long time (2 years?) but I would like to start posting again. Not on a weekly basis. Who has time for that? But just when an album catches my ear as something special. Something worth my time to review and your time to read about.

For me, music is a drug. I’m always looking for that next high. That next album to connect with the second that I start to listen to it and realize this is something special. This is an album that’s going to reshape my musical world. There’s a couple albums recently that have done that to me and I would like to share them with you. I’m not going to do full blown reviews and cover everything. Just enough to explain why I think they are special in the ocean of releases that continue to flood our environment. I might do some albums that especially piss me off too. Just to have a balance.

What’s Up with Project Lt. Morning?

For anybody worried, I have no plans of stopping. I renewed the website domain last week for an additional 2 years. I am fully committed to keep writing. But other things in my life are requiring a huge amount of my time at the moment. The absolute earliest I can start up again on ‘Just A Band’ is August. It may be as late as October though depending on how things go. I’d rather be writing reviews right now, but such is life.

Anyways, thanks for reading. I guarantee my next review, whenever that ends up being, will be epic.

Just A Band Screw Up #1

Just to be clear here: I screwed up. Yes, only the second week into this and I already messed everything up. I got overly excited about the idea of reviewing the companion album to Sgt. Pepper, namely, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. Nothing would be cooler than reviewing them back to back. Well guess what? That’s not the right order. While I’ve been listening to Pet Sounds all this week, I should have been listening to Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin III.

Obviously I can’t switch over to LZIII on Thursday and squeeze an entire week of listening into two days. Also, reviewing them out of order is not an option for me since it goes against what I said I was going to do. So my plan is to spend another week with Pet Sounds after reviewing LZIII next week. I have no qualms with listening to Pet Sounds for two weeks and it’s only going to improve the review as it gives me more time to prepare. And, honestly, I’m not as familiar with the Beach Boys as I probably should be. The history of this band and their music is quite complex. It’ll be nice to have more time to soak that in.

One Week Delay

I do my best to write a review every week and meeting this self-imposed deadline is important to me. Unfortunately, life is getting in the way again. So rather than give you two crappy reviews in a row, I’m going to delay this review by a week and give you an awesome review next week.

It’ll be worth the wait. Trust me. I’m actually going to listen to this album for another week so it’ll be fresh in my mind.

Taking a Break

Like most hobbies/side projects, life sometimes gets in the way. I plan returning mid-November when hopefully things have settled down. Sorry if this disappoints anyone, but I’d rather take a break then post half-assed reviews or become so flustered that I quit doing this completely.

This has been so much fun to do so I have no plans of quitting. I’m going to let Wyclef set the mood as I take a break for the next couple months.

Week 24 Review (End of Summer Blow Up 3)

As I cross over the midpoint of EoSBU, I’m reviewing an album from perhaps the greatest musician of my generation, James Dewees.  More specifically, his Kickstarter album, No Country for Old Musicians.         

Artist: Reggie and the Full Effect {James Dewees aka Floppy Disk-0 aka Fluxuation aka Klaus of Common Denominator}
Album: No Country for Old Musicians
Year: 2013
Genre: Too Many to Count
Rating: (Infinity + 1)/5

Worth Your Time? I consider it a “Listen to Before You Die” album.

Twitter Review: J. Dewees transforms the elegant chaos of entropy into music with NCFOM. An extended range of emotions and genres make for a unique experience.

Top 3 Tracks:

  1. Who Needs Another Drink?
  2. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Ralph’s
  3. 37

Things to Look For:

  • The Perfect Song. I know that’s a bold statement but I think I could listen to this song on repeat for an entire day and not get the least bit tired of it. I could possibly even go all week and do the first ever (and last) Project Lt. Morning review on a single track. I was madly in love with this song from the second it started with a man expressing his undying love for the 1992 Royal Rumble in Albany, New York where Nature Boy Ric Flair takes down…someone. Sadly, our wrestling fanatic is rudely interrupted before he could finish. But his enthusiasm isn’t the least bit dampened as the song which is more infectious than any STD known to mankind, Who Needs Another Drink?, begins. Floppy Disk-0 aka James is on the top of his game with this song. The lyrics are simple but insanely memorable. I loved singing the chorus in a nasally voice as loud as I could in my car during my daily commute. His other two interludes involving a discussion of smoking PCP and what I can only infer is Last Call at a Kindergarten classroom only add to appeal of the song. I know I am not alone in my love for this song as my friend informed me that the crowd went ballistic when this song started at the concert he attended. Like getting up on stage and dancing ballistic. Just imagining that makes me smile.
  • Ending on a High Note. One thing I noticed on the album that several of the songs have a short comedic bit at the end. In Guerrera, the song is about a brave Aztec warrior and his pet hawk who are traded by the Aztec empire to a group of aliens in exchange for the aliens not blowing up the empire. The aliens need his hero skills to fight other aliens. Pretty fair deal, no? Actually, this song has the fantastic line of “Stronger than one thousand spears that’s pretty strong if you ask me” which is extra hilarious because up to that point the song has a very serious tone. But as the drum beats start to wind down, the ending tops that when James shouts “Anybody see my bird?” which is then followed quickly by a  majestic hawk vocalization and a very short “Oh.” This brief moment of joy occurs again at the end of DMV where he is singing as Klaus, frontman of Finnish metal band Common Denominator.  Driving, Me, Victory at DMV also contains one of my favorite verse from the album “What are you looking at lady behind glass? My social security is I can kick your ass, For the last time so I can make it clear, A record of my birth is I’m standing right here.” The Department of Motor Vehicles has never sounded so metal.
  • Emotions. James is absolutely incredible at conveying a wide variety of emotions with pinpoint precision with his voice. The lighthearted silliness of 37 and We Make a Breakfast is such a stark contrast to his voice in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Ralph’s which is very melancholy. Take it even further on the sadness spectrum and you end up with Disregard where you can’t help but be reminded of your own feelings of despair as a relationship collapses right underneath your feet. I haven’t even touched on the songs where he is doing characters, which just further illustrates his versatility.
  • Best Break Ever. In Sundae, Booty Sundae, where James plays the part of electropop sensation Fluxuation, there is quite possibly the greatest keyboard break in a song ever recorded. It’s so freaking incredibly catchy. I think I bobbed my head every single time it came on. And I always did it in this figure 8 motion. Not sure why but it felt right. Dewees is the King of Keyboard, the Sultan of Synthesizers, the Colonel of Composition, the Emperor of Electronic Musical Devices, the… you get the point. The man can write a melody like no other.

Low Points: This isn’t a low point for me really because I consider it genius more than anything but I think at first listen the album is probably confusing to the newcomer. The album does contain a song in which James says the word “chicken” over and over and over…and over. But if you saw the video for the Kickstarter page that was used to fund this album, it makes complete sense. Even the title is kind of weird. But once you know that he composed the album while living in an apartment in N. Hollywood and felt like he couldn’t relate to the 20-somethings in his building as a 36 year old, it also makes perfect sense. The song, To the Fruit Wizards of Donnington, is about James getting hit by apples thrown by wizards. Well, it’s actually based on a real situation in which he playing at a music festival and a group of metal fans with some long beards started throwing stuff on the stage. Unfortunate but not so weird anymore, right? The song, Gimme Back My Leg, which might seem strange to write a song about your dog humping your leg is actually a touching tribute to his bulldog, talullah, who died while James was working on the album. Finally, anybody that doesn’t know that James includes a variety of alter egos in his albums is also going to be confused but I couldn’t imagine the albums without them. They do so much to make a Reggie album what it is.

Anything Else: James has been described as your artist’s favorite artist. And I have no doubt that this is true. The eclectic collection of compositions on this album just blow my mind as a music nerd and I probably left out at least a dozen other lyrics I’m dying to tell you about. But proof that other artists recognize his mad skills is Dewees was touring keyboardist for My Chemical Romance. So if you’ve ever seen them live, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Dewees and didn’t even know it. And a whole ton of musicians have served as part of his touring band. I imagine it’s because it’s so freaking fun to play James’ material and because he is such an awesome guy.

I’d like to close with probably the biggest mistake of my life. Out of all the Kickstarter projects I regret most , it is not the many that have failed after 12+ months of waiting but the one that I didn’t back that was an absolute success in every sense of the word. I’m sorry, James Dewees, for not backing this album. If you want to make another album though Kickstarter, I will gladly back it. Maybe even enough to get a sweet hoodie or something this time.

Additional Links:

Announcing End of Summer Blow Up

After a suggestion from a very wise friend, and talking it over with my editor, I’ve decided to create a new theme for Project Lt. Morning.  End of Summer Blow Up is going to be done during the month of August every year and last the entire month.

During this month, I’m going to choose and review recently released albums by unknown artists that I think deserve to have a much wider audience. This gives me a chance to review albums while they are fresh regardless of where the title falls alphabetically. Reviewing an album 10 years after it came out really isn’t going to be help any artist blow up. And yes I know that the actual impact of my blog is…limited. But just as you should dance like no one is watching, you should blog like everyone is reading.

Originally, Project Lt. Morning was this incredibly restrictive plan to listen to all of the music on my mp3 player. After doing it for 4 months, I’m realizing that I need to branch out if I’m going to keep this up long term. So I expect more ideas like this to pop up throughout the year.

If anybody feels that I need to stick to my original plan and the thought of all these new ideas sounds like chaos, please let me know. I’d love to hear why you think that.

Readers Pick My 13th Album Review!

I figured since this is going to take over a decade to finish this project, some of you might not want to wait that long before I started taking reader requests. So I’ve decided to let you decide which album I’m going to review for the 13th week.  At the end of week 12 I will randomly choose which album to review next by using a random number generator from a list of reader submitted albums. I’m asking you only submit one album so everyone has an even chance of their album being picked.  I will do this again every 3 months so there will be more chances later.

I just ask that you keep in my mind this will be on repeat over and over for roughly 8 hours a day for 5 straight days.  My suicide or institualization in a mental health center will be on your head. And don’t think my wife won’t come hunt you down. She will backtrace you and the consequences will never be the same.