Mike's Tunes

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a bit of an audio aficionado. I love my music and I love to share it with others. My tastes range from Beethoven to Bad Religion and incorporate just about everything in between. I'm of the opinion that there is music that fits just about every occasion in life and I strive to make sure that my personal "life soundtrack" is playing most of the time (much to my wife's music hating dismay).

Anyway, I thought I'd create a page where I can share a little about what I'm listening to and what bands or albums have recently caught my ear. I'm not sure how often I'll update this page, but the widgets here will update regularly so you can see (and listen to) what's been pumping through my headphones lately.

My Last.fm Journal

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010, 5:40 am

Like many kids of the 80's I grew up listening to my Dad's collection of awesome 60's/70's rock-&-roll. Some of the staples included The Beatles, The Doors, The Moody Blues, Credence Clearwater Revival, Simon & Garfunkel and many, many more. But I remember one day while my Dad was rummaging through his vast collection of vinyl, he pulled out a record I hadn't seen before. I honestly don't remember the name of the album, but it was a compilation of surf hits including Wipe Out, Surfer Joe, Let's go Trippin' and tons of other classic surf rock hits. After hearing it once I immediately asked him to make me a tape for my walkman and I then proceeded to listen to it until I wore it out.

That was many years ago and don't remember exactly what what happened to that tape. I'm sure my Dad still has the vinyl it was recorded from, but as I got older I began to discover new sounds and found myself drawn to the alternative music of the late 80's and early to mid 90's. As I began to build my own CD collection I filled it full of Pearl Jam, Oingo Boingo and Stone Temple Pilots. Then in the mid 90's I discovered ska and began to buy up all the 2-tone I could find. I've always had a fairly eclectic taste in music (excluding a few specific genres), but up until about 2 years ago, my vast collection contained zero instrumental surf rock. I had totally forgotten about it.

And then I stumbled upon a band called The Bambi Molesters. This was quite on accident and I only checked them out because of their odd name to be honest. But as soon as I heard them, I had to have more. I had accidentally rediscovered the sound that I had found so appealing as a kid. It's hard to describe what it is that's so engaging about it, but the combination of the classic surf guitar along with the driving drums and the occasional horns creates a sound that is both rock-&-roll at heart as well as a psychedelic drug induced trip to the outer reaches of who knows where. I've never even lived on the coast, but just hearing that sound makes me think of chillin' on the beach and surfing at dawn. I realize that's mostly just programmed by what I know of surf culture, but few genres of music have the same ability to transport my mind to a specific time and place.

Since finding The Bambi Molesters I've added many other great bands to my collection including some of the classics like The Ventures and The Surfaris. But I've also found many more recent bands that keep the classic surf sound alive including The Langhorns, The Ghastly Ones, Los Coronas, Los Straitjackets, Satan's Pilgrims and a few other more obscure bands like The Pharaos. All of these excellent bands have their own unique take on the classic surf sound, but I think that's what I like so much about this sub-genre is the amazing variations on a very specific theme. And whether you're into great classic rock & roll, psychedelic mood music or just something with a good beat, all of these bands deliver.

Cowabunga dude!

The Bambi Molesters

Source: Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal |

Wednesday, 22 October 2008, 11:05 pm

I discovered The Decemberists about a year and a half ago thanks to a friend who happened to have one of the largest and most diverse cd collections I've ever seen (which is saying something compared to my own. Thanks Cody). Since that time they have been one of my favorite new music discoveries.

The Decemberists hail from Portland, Oregon and have a rather unique style of music. They have been around awhile, but if you're a new listener, you will definitely hear the influence of bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Belle & Sebastian, Sufjan Stevens and maybe even bands like Elliot Smith and Guster in their story telling lyrics. However, you can also hear a definite folk influence in their use of unique instruments like the banjo, accordion and various organs. The folk/historical influence is also prevalent in the lyrics of songs like The Mariner's Revenge Song (one of my favorites) and A Cautionary Song. Much of their music evokes thoughts of late 19th century port villages full of salty old sea dogs and buxom wenches.

Needless to say, they are difficult to place into one specific genre. But if I had to try and categorize them, I guess I'd go with something like Indie-ish Maritime Folk Rock. For anyone who has never heard them, just believe that's about as close as I can get. So if you like any of the other bands I've mentioned above, they are definitely worth a listen. And if you had to pick one particular album to start with, you can't go wrong with Picaresque. It's perfect for anyone looking for some new tunes to transport them back to the turn of the century with stories of the shenanigans of gnarled old sailors (think Jim Carrey in A Series of Unfortunate Events).

You can check out The Decemberists here.

Source: Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal |

Thursday, 17 April 2008, 4:28 am

Do you ever find yourself in need of some new chill out tunes? Then The Kings of Convenience may be for you. Consisting of two guys from Norway, The Kings of Convenience have what can only be described as a very calming sound. With smooth vocal harmonies like those of Simon & Garfunkel, calming acoustic melodies and great story telling lyrics, these guys really set themselves apart from the rest of the "indie" scene.

The best way to describe these guys is by saying that I love to lie in bed with my headphones on and let them sing me to sleep. It's not that they're "sleep inducing", it's just that they have such a smooth sound that I find it very easy to relax while listening to them. And I think the key there is not even so much the music, but their smooth vocal harmonies. If you enjoy bands like Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab for Cutie or The Decemberists then you should really give Kings of Convenience a listen.

Check out Kings of Convenience here.

Source: Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal |

Tuesday, 15 April 2008, 8:46 pm

I recently discovered a great ska/reggae band called The Aggrolites. This discovery was prompted by a request from my wifes sister after she heard them on the radio and asked if I knew who they were or if I had any of their albums she could check out. I didn't then, but I sure do now.

The Aggrolites got together in 2002 and their sound covers the gamut of the ska/reggae genre. At times their instrumental tracks remind me of classic ska bands like The Skatalites (but with less horns) and at other times they have a very classic reggae sound akin to The Wailers. Other tracks even remind me of 2-tone greats like The Specials and The English Beat but with a lyrical styling like Sublime.

The Aggrolites are extremely tight musically speaking and they bring a lot to the table for any fan of the genre. Bands like this make me sad that the 90's ska revival is dying (ok... I realize it's dead, I'm just in denial). The Aggrolites are a must have if you enjoy a bit of Caribbean sound on a sunday afternoon. And even if you're not a reggae fan, you should give 'em a listen. You won't be sorry.

Check out The Aggrolites here.

Source: Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal Rudeboy311's Last.fm Journal |

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