Album Review – ELiZA WREN Returns to Oz

When I review an album, I listen with pen and paper. I take notes song-by-song, recording the vibe and mood of each song, how each flows, and how they work together to make a complete album.  While listening to ELiZA WREN’s Returns to Oz, I wasn’t able to do that, and I could not be more delighted.

This double album of 110 minutes of music is set to the movie Return to Oz, one of my childhood favorites.  If you are not familiar with Return to Oz, watch it right this minute. Otherwise, here’s a three sentence synopsis:  It’s a very dark, somewhat creepy non-musical 80’s sequel to the 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz in which an inexplicably younger Dorothy, played by Fairuza Balk (who I had a crush on as a kid and again later after watching The Craft), gets sent to an asylum by her loving aunt and uncle to get electroshock therapy to rid her mind of the Oz mumbojumbo that she won’t shut up about. Whilst escaping the asylum, she falls asleep and wakes up in Oz, only to find it has been ruined by the creepy wheelers (imagine less cool flying monkeys on rollerblades), a gnome king who is sporting the ruby slippers, and a headless witch who has a varied collection of heads she can swap.  Oz can only be returned to its former glory by stopping these evil characters, and the only ones who can stop them are Dorothy and her verbose chicken, along with the help of a robot soldier, a jack-o-lantern headed dude, and a flying couch with a talking moose head.

If that amazing preview didn’t immediately compel you to watch Return to Oz, I have yet another excellent reason: EliZA WREN’s album Returns to Oz.  Much like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz (the syncing of which is commonly known as Dark Side of the Rainbow), ELiZA WREN’s album can be synced with the film Return to Oz.  However, when playing Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, coincidences are few and you really have to be generous in accepting things that seem moderately in sync. With Returns to Oz, the songs are purposefully and amazingly crafted to accompany the movie, and they do a fantastic job of enhancing each other.  The moods of the songs fit perfectly, and the lyrics are usually, though cryptically, describing what is happening in the movie.  I can’t quite describe the audio/visual aspect of the whole experience, all I can do is recommend you try it (start by watching the trailer).

Apart from the visual, the music definitely holds on it’s own.  The album uses ongoing motifs and recurring song themes that range from old timey bluegrass and folk music to indie rock to piano-based spacey tunes that would fit very well on a Pink Floyd record.  Whether you experience the album on its own or accompanied by a delightfully creepy Disney movie, I highly recommend giving it a watch and/or listen!

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Album Review – ELiZA WREN Returns to Oz

Interview – Will Hatton and The Mix-Tape Invasion Radio Show

A few weeks ago I was contacted by my good buddy and first cousin, Will Hatton, about a radio show he got at K-UTE at the University of Utah.  That in itself is very cool, but what’s even cooler? Will told me that he was going to have a Linescratchers Segment.  In that segment, he’d be featuring Linescratchers artists. Because radio and podcast copyright laws are different, Will would be able to feature lots of artists that I can’t on the Linescratchers Podcast. Linescratchers will finally find itself on the radio, where good music deserves to be played.

Will has agreed to answer some questions about his new radio show, The Mix-Tape Invasion, including information about where interested listeners can tune in!  Highly recommended from Linescratchers. Continue reading “Interview – Will Hatton and The Mix-Tape Invasion Radio Show”

Interview – Will Hatton and The Mix-Tape Invasion Radio Show

Interview – Jim Harker of Coastal

Coastal

I went to a couple shows at this wonderful place called the Dojo while attending BYU.  Its spacious interior was well-furnished with comfy couches and plenty of floor space; ideal for hosting mellow concerts.  (I believe the building was recently renovated as an entrepreneurial office space. You can read about it here. If I’m wrong, someone tell me. Otherwise, I’m thrilled to see this place back in operation, even for a different purpose).

Around November 2000, I went to the Dojo to hear this band I had read about in the Daily Universe called Infrared.  They were reputed to sound very different from what was typical in Provo. Infrared was described as “sedate, even reverent.”   I was intrigued.  Soon after I read about Infrared, they changed their name to Coastal to avoid name conflict with another band (I think they actually announced this at the show I was at).  Their melancholy sound was a good fit for my final days in college.  It launched a psychic process whereby I have sought out recordings by other slowcore and shoegaze bands and grafted them into my college memories.  (I don’t know how I missed their later show with Low – good grief!)

Later, I found out that Coastal’s drummer, Jim Harker, married the sister of a childhood friend of mine in Minnesota.  Just recently, I found out that Jim is related to a distant cousin-in-law, not to mention my own wife!  Oh, small Mormon world!  Jim agreed to share his perspective on Coastal and what he has been up to lately. Continue reading “Interview – Jim Harker of Coastal”

Interview – Jim Harker of Coastal

Fictionist and Atlantic Records?

In a recent YouTube video released by the Provo-based band Fictionst, members of the band browse a record store. After picking up albums by various artists and mentioning each by name, the camera zooms and focuses on the Atlantic logo.  At the end of the video, Fictionist frontman Stuart Maxfield finds a Fictionist album in the Local Music section. He picks it up and looks at the camera…

… proving you can say much more without saying anything at all.

Fictionist plans to make their big announcement at the Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo, Utah on September 21st.  Until then, we would like to congratulate them on signing with Atlantic Records. Congratulations, Fictionist.

Fictionist and Atlantic Records?

Da Korum – Worldz Without Numba

I finally loaded Da Korum’s latest EP into iTunes yesterday. Based on all the hype surrounding Worlds Without Numba, I was expecting a masterpiece.

It’s a piece alright.  This was the longest 11.5 minutes of my life. I have had visits to the dentist that were less painful. I would rather see Betty White naked (and confess it to my bishop) than listen to this album again.

I will spare you the horror of listening to this album by describing this (I hesitate to call it “musical”) train wreck. So horrific, in fact, that I’m sure it will cause many “Nights without Slumba”.

A quick run-down of the tracks:

“Back (4 Tha Furst Time)”: My main recollection of this song was that they said “yo” an awful lot and mentioned R.L. Stine. Though the Goosebumps series would hardly qualify as high literature, I was pleasantly surprised to hear they read at all. A third grade reading level is apropos; that seems to be their emotional age.

“U Don’t Understand Me” feat. Grizelle: I had already assumed Da Korum were a couple of 20-somethings still living at home. This song confirmed my suspicions with the line, “when I turned 18, I ran away from home and worked at Arby’s for two weeks until I moved back home.” Is it even possible to run away from home once you’re 18? Though I can hardly stomach listening to a couple of spoiled adult children rap about how rough their lives are, I actually felt sorry for the dude who went to summer camp and didn’t earn a single merit badge. He breaks down and cries right in the midst of recording. Why didn’t they edit that part out? I’m guessing they spent all their allowance and had no money left to cover the costs of re-doing the vocals. Studio time IS expensive. Despite all of that, this song is probably the highlight of the CD. I am impressed with the female vocals. I am amazed that they even speak to girls, let alone convince them to appear on a record. She probably just works for the studio.

“Worldz Without Numba”: This is easily the worst astronomy lesson ever taught. If the members of Da Korum actually received high school diplomas, they should be taken away immediately and all their teachers should be fired. Do they even teach spelling in school anymore? They change “care” to “ker” so they can rhyme with “err” (which is their new version of “air”). Did you not realize “care” and “air” already rhymed?

Da Korum seem to be sadly ignorant of how sadly ignorant they are. They even attempt to dazzle us with their knowledge of the Theory of Relativity.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Einstein starts to haunt them for this botch job.

Can they just hie to Kolob and never come back?

Da Korum – Worldz Without Numba