Going Through The Motions? or The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily

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It’s interesting that two guys who appear to hate each other as much as Jack White and Dan Auerbach should have careers that seem to parallel each other so closely. For whatever reason, they both have tried stepping outside the bands they are known for to create something new and different. However, White wisely chose to bring in other vocalists and songwriters (Brendan Benson with the Raconteurs and Allison Mosshart with Dead Weather) to help change the direction of his sound. The result is a distinct difference between each band.

Auebach hasn’t chosen this route. While the writing credits have been distributed throughout the band, The Arcs debut Yours, Dreamily may as well be a new Black Keys record. His guitar – vocal combo doesn’t explore any new territory that differentiates one band from another.

Of course, that doesn’t mean this is a bad record, on the contrary, it does exactly what you might expect from Auerbach by giving you a collection of songs that work his strengths. You have that blues/soul influence played with his vintage Supro and a couple songs that work as ‘rockin’ singles.’ “Outta My Mind” is a familiar anchor song that serves as a statement of arrival, a wave if you wish, that pushes the album towards the deeper cuts. Auerbach laments “working just to beat the clock / all I need is one more shot” on “The Arc” and while his voice seems rather sleepy in the sentiment, the guitar work is ferocious giving the song an image of someone rising up after a beating down.

The problem with Yours, Dreamily is that familiarity with the Black Keys library has begun to breed the perception of complacency with new band the Arcs. There isn’t anything new to offer, but still, if Auerbach is only going through the motions, he does it far better than most.

With My Friend Beside Me… or The Black Keys – Brothers

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Brothers travelled the roads between Peterborough and Toronto with me as if this album was a best friend. Entertaining me, making me smile occasionally, and telling me outrageous stories as the hours passed. Back and forth I went and so did The Black Keys. After one particularly nasty life experience, the first thing that had me laugh in over two months was the video for “Howlin’ For You.” I mean, how cool is (Sir) Todd Bridges when he does that Samuel L. Jackson badass thing.

Released in May of 2010, Brothers quickly became The Black Keys best selling record, and by that November I knew I wanted to see it spin on my turntable.

Fortunately, the band provided several vinyl options for their fans. The first two are separate but almost identical releases. For North America, a regular 2 disc vinyl copy was put out with a CD and poster in a black gatefold cover. In Europe, it was a 180 gram audiophile 2 disc vinyl set with the CD, poster and same cover. However the big limited release came on Black Friday/Record Store Day when a limited edition became available.

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3000 copies all machine stamped and numbered in an alternate white gatefold cover hit the independent record stores. Brothers contained two 180 gram vinyl discs that played at 45 rpm, an additional 10 inch record with unreleased live material, the CD and a variant of the same poster contained in the other vinyl releases.

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The significance of the 45 RPM should not be understated in this case; vinyl 12” records play at higher speed, have wider grooves and allow the vinyl to carry a bit more sound. Audiophiles claim it gives a greater frequency response, while the rest of us hear an enlarged bass and more dynamic guitar.

When I play my vinyl against the CD, the wax sounds so much warmer and… well, whole. If you ever get the chance you should play a CD or download up against the vinyl and give it a test, I believe you will hear a difference.

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Copies of original vinyl editions of Brothers can still be purchased at all your favourite record retailers. As for the limited edition, you would have to go to the re-seller market on that computer thing and likely pay about $100 plus shipping. But… really, can you put a price on friendship?

Inspired in Part by Record Store Day – Playlist April 12/15

“Amphetamine: – Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three

Such a great frickin’ driving song if you want to get yourself a speeding ticket… by the way, I don’t recommend the ticket…

“Hoover Dam” – Sugar

I had a review half written called “the Return of Peanut Girl,” but I never finished it. Anyway, Copper Blue sounds awesome on vinyl and you can find it at your better record stores.

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“Deathly” – Aimee Mann

Any excuse to put Aimee Mann on a playlist is a good excuse. Still haven’t heard back from her… I’m guessing she doesn’t read my blog.

“Coming Home” – Leon Bridges

Soul music has a new champion and his name is Leon Bridges. Keep your eyes open folks, this guy is for real!

“Sliver” – Nirvana

Still bummed about missing my shot… maybe another will show up in 10 years.

“You Really Got Me” – The Kinks

After the disappointment of the new Van Halen live, I couldn’t even bring myself to play one of their songs. So here is something way better.

“The Lovecats” – Tanya Donelly & Dylan In Motion

Donelly is awesome and the Cure are awesome, so getting two for the price of one. Now if Robert Smith could cover “Feed The Tree” we… just kidding.

“Someplace” – Nick Waterhouse

He hasn’t put Holly out on Spotify, so I went with “Someplace” from his first record. I will be talking about Holly in the upcoming weeks. Spoiler – it is AWESOME! Buy it here!

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“Ain’t Messin’ Round” – Gary Clark Jr

Just because I wanted to stay in that rockin’ soul vibe.

“My Mind Is Rambling” – The Black Keys

A seven inch split is coming out in Record Store Day of the Black Keys and Junior Kimbrough, so I thought why not throw a Black Keys cover of Junior just for the hell of it. Besides – it fits.

“Touch Me I’m Sick” – Mudhoney

Turns out fictional band Citizen Dick (see movie Singles) is releasing “Touch Me I’m Dick” for RSD 2015. Can’t wait to hear it! Anyway, here is the original song that led to that play on words.

“Everyone Knows” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Jett has a double album being released for RSD, so I put her in the mix… because she is a rock god and I need no other reason.

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“Machine Gun Blues” – Social Distortion

I am so looking forward to getting my hands on that first Social Distortion record next Saturday.

“Alex Chilton” – The Replacements

Another 7” being released this weekend is reason enough… I miss Chilton.

“Back In Your Head” – Tegan & Sara

Um are you picking up on a theme that surrounds a certain date that has rare vinyl being released.

“Runaway” – Del Shannon

I’ll be doing a review on this guy soon.

“I’d Run Away” – The Jayhawks

Read a rather depressing article on these guys recently. Awesome band that can never seem to catch a break…

“The Cuckoo” – Kristin Hersh

Leader of the Throwing Muses and incredible singer/songwriter in a varied solo career (check out Hips & Makers if you need proof) she also has a 7” of “The Cuckoo” coming out on RSD.

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“Brass Buttons” – The Lemonheads

Yep. A split 7” of the Lemonheads and the original Gram Parsons tune is arriving on Saturday.

“Jesus Christ” – Big Star

Only reason I put a Christmas song on a April playlist is because of RSD… irony is, the original release of this song was on a record that had nothing to do with the holiday season either.

How Superstitious Are You? Playlist April 5/15

  1. “Slipin’ & Slidin’” – Little Richard

I read somewhere once that Here’s Little Richard is one of the most ‘essential’ records of all time. After listening a few dozen times in recent weeks, I believe that I agree. There is currently a special limited edition of it at Newbury Comics.

  1. “Livin’ For The City” – The Dirtbombs

Love this record and love this band. I highly recommend you give them a listen. You can order stuff from here.

  1. “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder

After reviewing The Dirtbombs, I couldn’t resist playing something from the legend himself. Wish he hadn’t lost his political edge for a bunch of wedding played syrup, but still, when he was at his creative peak, he couldn’t be touched.

  1. “Your Touch” – The Black Keys

Earlier Black Keys, they just frickin’ rock – no matter what Mr. White has to say.

  1. “Hold On” – Alabama Shakes

Something about this band just leaves me wanting more; looking forward to getting the new stuff.

  1. “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs

A good Neil Young cover is always welcome around here. Besides it gives me another excuse to play something from those great cover albums by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs.

  1. “Ballad of Big Nothing (Alternate Vocal)” – Elliot Smith

Another re-release from Newbury, … I love Smith’s music, I just wish it didn’t remind me of… well, less talk – more listen.

  1. “Punky’s Dilemma” – Simon & Garfunkel

Started writing a review that included a memory of this song; haven’t finished the review, but the song makes me smile all the same.

  1. “Blackbird” – Paul McCartney & Wings

Besides the recent re-master of Wings Over America, I actually have an old cassette copy I got back when I was about 15. Can’t believe this guy is still touring… can’t believe Kanye fans didn’t know who he was… actually…. I can believe that. Nevermind.

  1. “Magnet and Steel” – Walter Egan

Don’t own it on vinyl, but I really do love this song. For some reason I always thought this was a Buckingham – Nicks song and always pictured Lindsay & Stevie singing it together. For a billion years I’ve known the truth, but that image just never goes away.

  1. “Don’t Let Me Break Your Heart Again” – Turbo Fruits

Best Strokes sounding song not put out by the Strokes in a very long time; can’t wait to hear the whole record.

  1. “The Root” – Kim Deal & Morgan Nagler

Kim Deal is so frickin’ awesome it hurts. Don’t want to picture the Pixies without her – so I don’t. She has her own web store where she is selling her singles and posting videos. This video is pretty cool.

  1. “What Ever Happened?” – The Strokes

No, I’m not paid to promote Newbury! BUT – they do put out some cool collectible vinyl!

  1. “Disarm” – The Smashing Pumpkins

It is getting hard to find this edition of Siamese Dream that is 180 gram vinyl with a gatefold cover. Get it soon or wait for the next significant anniversary.

  1. “Positive Bleeding” – Urge Overkill

Yeah… I broke down and bought it! Probably use it as an example of how the poor exchange rate makes buying from south of the border a little on the expensive side.

  1. “Until The Sun Comes” – Rival Sons

Love this song, I’m just not sure about the band yet. I’ll let you know later.

  1. “If Only We Were Dogs” – Juliana Hatfield Three

Soon to be sold out from her web store, if you are thinking about it… you better get on it.

  1. “I Ain’t Superstitious” – The Jeff Beck Group

It just made it across the Atlantic, and it already seems hard to get. Good Luck!

  1. “Communication Breakdown” – Led Zeppelin

No problem finding this gem any and everywhere.

  1. “John, I’m Only Dancing (Sax Version, 2003)” – David Bowie

This record has become “My Precious” he says in his best Gollum voice. This is a great version of the classic “John, I’m Only Dancing.” Why do I love it so much – the answer is in the song.