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Best of 2016: Kelly's Personal Picks (now with more cat)!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 31, 2016 02:18pm | Post a Comment
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Looking back at 2016, it was a good year for music, if for nothing else. If you're reading this—hey!—you survived the ride. How did you do it? Was it the music? Without a doubt, music has saved my life, or at least my mood, as often as once a day (very probably) over this past year and for that I am thankful (most definitely). Here follows a little list of personal favorites that really came through for me in 2016. My cat may be in some of these pictures...

tony molina confront the truth 45 slumberland
Tony Molina
- Confront the Truth
(Slumberland)

I never know what to expect from Tony Molina, aside from hella Bay Area bombast and great short songs, and Confront the Truth further confused matters for me (save for the short songs tip) in the best way possible. This lovely 45 is brimming with just the sort of comfortably spun, little-bit-country/little bit folk 'n roll melodies I like. It can also be said that it's brimming with conspicuous influences, namely bits n' bobs reminiscent of The Beatles, Elliott Smith, and perhaps even a little early Skynyrd (think "The Seasons"). Nevertheless, it's easy to appreciate the truth of Molina's heartfelt songwriting and superb ability to navigate a softer power as he coaxes and bends his strums and twangs 'til the bitter end on this ten-ish minutes long, eight song confrontation. Or 'til the bittersweet end, as the cherry on top is a loving cover of Thin Lizzy's wistful instrumental "Banshee" rounding out the record like a would-be bonus track. Altogether a perfect example of how beautifully moving even the most fleeting music can be.

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Kelly's Choice Albums (and So Fourth) of 2014

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, December 30, 2014 03:15pm | Post a Comment
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This is it, we made it to the last Tuesday of 2014. With nothing but a new year's worth of new release days ahead, here's to looking back over the past three-hundred sixty odd days filled with sonic revelations and reverberations. With that in mind, I've complied my very own short stack of yummy black plastic pancake picks -- my favorite records released this year. Mmm, pancakes....

1. Once & Future Band - Brain EP
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Listening to this sprawling progressive precipice of a rock record for the first time was like slipping backwards over a ledge built by everyday mundanities and falling. Falling but never bracing for impact, maybe never touching Earth again. Just like "looking ahead with no backwards glancing," as vocalist/keymaster Joel Robinow puts it in the nearly nine minute eponymous opening track, I was besotted and entirely overcome with feels. I mean, as much as it urks my nerve when folks misuse and overstate things as "literally" being or doing this or that, I can state without hesitation that this record literally blew me away. Well, in a figurative sense. Add to that the fact that this sweet baby is obviously a passionate labor of love, deftly crafted by a couple of local backyard Bay Area wizards, and GAH! my esteem for this band couldn't be any more swollen. These guys are pretty much the best band around right now.

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7" Fix: Violent Change - Suck on the Gun EP

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 14, 2012 10:32pm | Post a Comment
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Say what you will about the confluence of punk and pop music, the truth is it doesn't suck.

Well, okay, so what even if most of it does suck eggs, local SF punkers Violent Change straddle the void between the punk as fuck and the pop rocks with adroit elan. In an as yet unpublished interview, Violent Change frontman and brainchild "Gladys" describes the VC sonic experience as the Sex Pistols meets the Bee Gees. And, after taking their Suck on the Gun EP for a spin, I'd have to say I agree though I'd map the distance between the Pistols and the brothers Gibb assessment with a little Revolver era Beatles, especially that "I'm only Sleeping" song, doused with the studio version of "Alcohol" by G.B.H.. Add to that some classic Damned jams plus a hint of Vic Godard & the Subway Sect a la "Make Me Sad" and you've got some good-ass, never-say-die punk rock stock.That Violent Change is obviously informed by highly commendable musical tastes and a natural inclination toward the aural obtuseness that comes with the whole basement/bedroom recording routine is a ultimately good thing, all of this ultimately evidenced by the record. Thus (duh!) it's my current favorite new four-song 45. I talked to a guy who bought this on sight the other day because "the safety pin letters look cool" -- don't they though? In any case, bands with an eponymous theme songs pretty much always totally rule.