Sunday, January 18, 2009

mp3 Albums, Part One

I think I've made it clear I'm not a big fan of mp3's, as they encourage a further degradation of sound quality from CD's (which, to start with, are higher fidelity but still really samples themselves) and vinyl. These albums I am reviewing here are as high-quality as I could find; sometimes, downloads are all you have to work with.

So I'll clear off the hard drive and go through these albums. Part one of two:
  • Faunts - Faunts (2007). This is actually an mp3-only album, so this forced me into a corner; a true full mix would be interesting to hear. High Expectations, Low Results went over like a lead balloon; this one features "M4," the soundtrack to the Mass Effect videogame. This is very relaxing... and I'm not sure if that's good or not. Pet peeve: track one is "M4 (Part II)"; track three is "M4 (Part I)." Either put them back to back (which I think would work in this case) or spread them out, but put them IN ORDER please. Annoying. I also wish this had more vocals. The songs don't go anywhere, which (I think) is more of a problem with the genre than these guys.
    Verdict: listen to "M4 (Part II)"; the rest I'm on the fence on. CD Rack for now.
  • Al Hotchkiss - From the Dark and Bloody Ground (2007). This was a free download. In this case, however, "free" did not mean that there was not "a cost," which would equate to "a portion of my life I will never get back."
    Verdict: Don't eat yellow snow. Pile of Death.
  • Keith Lubrant - Searching for Signal (2007). Thanks to Pandora for this one. Lubrant kind of reminds me of the John Faye Power Trip (which I loved and Denis hated) as very pleasant pop. The album goes on forever -- and not in a good way. "Disconnected" and "Too Late" are standouts.
    Verdict: Lightly recommended. CD Rack.
  • Really Red - New Strings for Old Puppets (1982). Believe it or not, this actually finally wraps up one of my first posts from two years ago. For melodic hardcore, this was surprisingly not great in the car, but I still heard what I needed to. I really love this. I would love to hear more stuff by them... but everything else is long out of print. "I Was a Teenage F@$#up" is not for the kids, but is a great song.
    Verdict: Recommended to download for free here. Portable CD Case for me.
  • Sleater-Kinney - BBC Sessions (1998, 1999, 2000). This is a compilation of three BBC sessions, and surprisingly good for live recordings. It's a good set list and a great snapshot of one of my all-time favorite bands.
    Verdict: Highly recommended. Portable CD Case.
  • Eddie Vedder - Into the Wild soundtrack (2007). On his way out the door from Mrs. Snilch Report's place of employment, faithful reader Eric Lax (not to be confused with Eric Salt), dropped a few albums on The Snilch Report's doorstep. He may or may not know that I'm not really a Pearl Jam fan; I respect them but simply don't listen to them all that much. I did not have high expectations for Eddie, and I generally don't like soundtracks, so this was a big surprise. Think Eddie Vedder reigned in (which is a good thing) -- it's a controlled burn. It's listenable in a non-self-indulgent way, which was the opposite of what I WAS expecting. I'm honestly surprised at how good this is (did I say that already?). This will get some more spins for sure.
    Verdict: Surprisingly recommended. Portable CD Case.
- Snilch


Jamie said...

Good seeing you and the Missus the other night. Your post made me feel further old and unhip, as I'd only heard of Sleater-Kinney and Eddie Vedder. *sigh* Time to shuffle off to the old folks' home. I did enjoy the S-K tune in your car the other night. Thanks for the ride, too. Currently listening to "October," by U2. Soooooo. Many. Years. Ago.

Anonymous said...

MP3s are the devil and for bands to release MP3 only albums is a shame. As a musician in 2009, I am forced to concede to this format ( Myspace/ iTunes etc..) but I offer my band's cd in 16 bit as well.
MP3s reduce the music experience to something disposable and forgetful. Whether listeners know it or not, you are less likely to fall in love with a band if you hear them for the first time and that first listen is an MP3 or other compressed format. The brain simply doesn't offer the same depth in the listening experience. A grainy photograph of the Grand Canyon is not the Grand Canyon. As cheezy as that sounds, it's simply true! Listen to your favorite album ( cd or vinyl quality) on headphones. There is an unending depth to it that can't really be put into words. Do the same listen with an MP3 version and you start to "see" the wall. It IS a wall. A sonic stopping point where the music sounds like it has a border. That all I can say.
Hopefully technology will catch up. Lately there are new formats that compete with MP3. They are better, but still FAR from great.
-E Salt