40 years ago Marvin Gaye Asked, “What’s Goin’ On?”

21 05 2011

It was 1971 when Motown released Marvin Gaye’s groundbreaking album, What’s Going On? the first of the label to ask that very real question of the Vietnam War, drug use, poverty. Even 40 years later it continues to induce goose bumps through Gaye’s pained, velveteen vocals, its brave message, and sultry bass. Released during a divisive time for many Americans, Gaye had the audacity to speak for a society fed up with sugar-coated pop and politics.

So here we are, all of us in this thing called life in 2011- another century which seems at first glance so far removed from the early 1970’s; however we can ask ourselves, “What’s going on?”  Our country is still fighting a confusing war on several fronts, the gap between the rich and…everyone else is widening, and our education system continues to keep minorities marginalized.

This anniversary serves as a reminder to us, for it’s easy to forget, that we are each blessed with talents to serve a larger purpose. Sure, Marvin Gaye had his share of infamous troubles, but in making What’s Going On? he used his talents to remind us all to be bold and ask questions-yes, even us non-famous people can act boldly.




The Squeezebox: Yuck- Self Titled (2011)

22 02 2011

The latest product of the UK hype machine , the unfortunately named Yuck comes out with their debut, an album consisting of scuzzy grunge/ noise pop deeply indebted to the distorted chord bashing of the late 80s and early 90s. Squalling, Overdriven guitars matching boyish but gritty vocals and a staunch lo-fi aesthetic. This nostalgic Rock sound and album often ends up being great but is at times inconsistent.  Some songs are bogged down by the dependence on their distortion pedals and being a little too indebted to their Influences. The slow burners particularly sometimes end up as duds that sound a little undercooked or 2nd string versions of their favorite bands.

Still, there is more than enough to love on Yuck. Georgia offers up an equally jangling and fuzzy pop song with sweetly sung fe/male vocals to make a song that can stand along with their idols. Or the opener Get Away a song that’s fueled with punkish angst and a guitar lead that would make Dinosaur JR. proud. Yuck is still a very young band and have a lot of things going for them. As long as they continue develop their potential and break out of their shell, their future work could be something really special.

74% – Armordillo

Yuck is streaming this whole album for free on Soundcloud, what a cool band!



The Squeezebox: The Megaphonic Thrift – Decay Decoy (2010/11)

26 01 2011

Hailing from one of my favorite music hubs of Norway, former members of Low Frequency in Stereo form a new band with some new blood and venture their way into Noise-Pop:  Blistering  passages of sonic squalls and dive bombing guitar techniques balanced out with smart melodic hooks and sense of song-craft.  There is a definite 90s influence going on here – Bands like Seam and New Radiant Storm King come to mind – but this album is most often being compared in the press and listeners to Sonic Youth.  While I definitely hear this  in the effects pedals and the storm of distortion (check out the crazy guitar shredding of the opener Undertow or the thrashing and dynamic Candy Sin) this tag can be a little misleading. It’s not as snotty/obnoxious ( I mean this in the most loving way as a SY Fan) and sometimes there’s  a sense of delicacy/intimacy to the songs – something Sonic Youth hardly ever tries.  Tracks like Mad Mary and Sister Joan can sound downright vulnerable amidst the Chaos. An album I can’t get enough of, I suggest you get this if you enjoy the angular alt rock of the 90s or just Guitar Rock in general. 84% -Armordillo

Check This Album out in February 2011, when it will be officially importing into the “colonies”

Opening Track From Decay Decoy, Undertow

And now, a word from our sponsors.

8 12 2010

This December marks the beginning of something new.  A collaborative, creative endeavor that we three embark upon to bring thoughtful, original music-related content to the masses.  Balafonic, named after the Balafon, a wooden-keyed percussive idiophone, like a West African marimba.  We chose this name not only because it sounded cool and was available, but also because it represents a conglomeration of our varied musical interests.  The balafon creates all three building blocks of music:  rhythm, melody and harmony, with ease. These are the mind, body and soul of that which we love.  It is also flexible and prolific, yet still exotic and laborious to construct.  The Balafon exists within the larger context of West African musical culture and is rarely played in solo performance.  Like the three of us, the Balafon sounds great alone, but in a team its worth is truly realized, its sound resonating with the other instruments and soaring to new heights.

We will be posting regularly over the coming weeks, months, years, and we hope that you all enjoy our rantings.  And so it begins.

%d bloggers like this: