That’s Why God Made The Radio – Track by track sample impressions

They’re playing to raving crowds all over America at this moment and I’m really really looking forward to when I get to see them in Berlin.

Only just over two months before that day rolls around and just over two weeks before the hotly anticipated Beach Boys 50th anniversary reunion album, That’s Why God Made the Radio, gets released to the general UK public on 4 June 2012.

Count our blessings

We shouldn’t be so blessed. Brian Wilson has been through so much in his career and battled against schizophrenia, obesity, and drugs, and yet today, he’s enjoying a new lease of life. He’s reconciled with his daughters Carnie and Wendy (of Wilson Phillips fame) and he has four children from his marriage to Melinda Wilson.

In 2000, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2005, he (finally) won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

The reunion

In 2011, some rumours started circulating that the Beach Boys were going to get back together again. After being disappointed  over the years about the prospect of a Beach Boys reunion, I daren’t believe it was true until it was 100% confirmed. After all, they were hinting at a reunion after the travesty that was Summer in Paradise and again after the (even worse) Stars and Stripes album.

I was so stoked when this reunion turned out to be true. And even better, that they were going on a worldwide tour and the album was going to be released in June! Unfortunately, their world tour doesn’t look like it’ll pass through the UK – but at least they’re playing in Europe. I’ve entered into a prize draw done by Amazon UK to win tickets for the Beach Boys concert in Rome and it will be truly wonderful if I win that. If I don’t though, life will still go on and I’ve been sufficiently blessed over the years already.

Now, on to my impressions of the (sample) tracks on the new album, That’s Why God Made The Radio

No, I did not get blessed with an early advance copy. What I’m doing is giving my impressions of the album, based solely on the 30 second (or less) snippets that Amazon UK allows me to hear when I preview the album. First, the track listing according to Amazon.

  1. Think About The Days
  2. That’s Why God Made The Radio
  3. Isn’t It Time
  4. Spring Vacation
  5. The Private Life of Bill and Sue
  6. Shelter
  7. Daybreak Over The Ocean
  8. Beaches In Mind
  9. Strange World
  10. From There And Back Again
  11. Pacific Coast Highway
  12. Summer’s Gone

That’s Why God Made The Radio is the first single off the new album and while it hasn’t cracked the Top 100 Mp3 songs list yet, at time of writing it’s #7 in MP3 Downloads > MP3 Songs > Rock.

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Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour tickets to O2 World, Berlin have arrived

It’s here! It’s here! My tickets to the Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour concert in O2 World Berlin have arrived. Amusingly, it came with a Ticketmaster brochure, that was produced almost entirely in German… rending it pretty much unreadable to me.

So, roll on 3 August!

Am really looking forward to hearing them in concert and hearing new and old tracks,

On another note, today was so warm that I needed this song to cool down. The Beach Boys – Cool Cool Water

Day ten of my temporary PC-less existence


WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

I’ve kinda given up all pretex of blogging exclusively via the mobile application. After having used them for several days, there’s no way they are in any position to replace the desktop functions of WordPress. Blogging via mobile apps also excludes me from taking advantage of Zemanta functionality within WordPress as well as WordPress’s functionality to recommend tags for my post based on what I’ve written about.

Round, round, get around, I get around
I’ve finally ordered my tickets for the Beach Boys concert, in Berlin. I’m so stoked to finally be able to see them in concert for the first time in my life. Even my mother and sister have watched The Beach Boys sans Brian Wilson – and I’m so much more Beach Boy mad than they are.

I do think I’m probably the only Malaysian that’s really nuts about the Beach Boys – I’ve got both the Good Vibrations: Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys box set and the The Pet Sounds box set. I only lack the Smile set to complete my collection of Beach Boys box sets (I don’t count sets like the U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years 1962-1965).

I still remember my very first Beach Boys tape, it was a pirated mixbootlef and it was an ecletic mix of Beach Boys tracks. My very first Beach Boys song I ever heard was Surfin USA, but this mix contained stuff from diverse albums like Pet Sounds, Smiley Smile, Friends, and Wild Honey. Some of the tracks I still remember are:

  • Breakaway
  • Wild Honey
  • How She Boogalooed It
  • Bluebirds Over The Mountain
  • Breakaway
  • Mama Says
  • I’m Waiting For The Day

Come to think of it, looking at the tracks above, I can’t believe they managed to get me hooked deeper into the music of the Beach Boys. After all, a majority of those tracks were post-Smile and a far cry from the Surfin USA music that originally captured my interest in the Beach Boys.

Getting deeper into The Beach Boys
After my experience with that bootleg tape, I was truly hooked on The Beach Boys. Luckily for me, Capitol Records were reissuing old Beach Boys albums as two-fers (two albums in one CD). I chose to start my journey in chronological order, with Surfin’ Safari/Surfin’ USA. Few things can replace the feeling I had unwrapping that CD, putting it into my CD player, and playing it while reading the excellent liner notes.

I quickly learnt the parts to all the songs on those albums, with particular emphasis on the bass vocals of Mike Love. In fact, my current bassy voice that has helped me get voice over and emceeing gigs is all from hours and hours of practice trying to emulate Mike Love’s deep bass. It was only many many years later when I realised that Mike Love’s vocals were usually double-tracked, thereby enhancing the bass effect. I’d say it was a good thing I didn’t know that earlier as it made me work hard to get my bass as smooth as Mike’s.

PSU warranty replacement status: Complete
I double checked my Scan account and as far as I’m told, my warranty replacement has been completed – so I guess my replacement PSU should be mailed to me soon? Hopefully it’ll arrive before Saturday rolls around… having a couple of guests over and it’ll be nice if my computer was up and running then.

Antec Truepower 650W power supply unit

Just to remind myself what my PSU looks like ;p

Fourteen days til E3 2012

E3 2010 Nintendo Media Event - Legend of Zelda...

E3 2010 Nintendo Media Event – Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword demo machines rise from the floor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s soon time the biggest gaming spectacle of the year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo – a time when the big three, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, war with each other by way of press conferences. In this unique battle, the company with the most astoundingly impressive announcements and jaw-dropping surprises will ‘win’ E3.

Of course, no one but the gaming community and gaming press really take notice of who ‘wins’ E3 but all the same, it’s fun to speculate and debate about which company’s press conference won the hearts and minds (and hopefully dollars) of gamers everywhere.

As a Nintendo consumer, I do hope for some really impressive announcements and some megaton announcements from Nintendo.

Here’s my top five wishes for Nintendo at E3 2012:

  1. For the WiiU to bowl over the competition and win back the core gamer
  2. For the 3DS to receive more video content rather than the four videos I receive every couple of weeks. Once I’ve finished watching them, there’s not much else to watch. Eurosport content is also pretty slim. Where are my 3D movie trailers?
  3. For Nintendo to show some love to the Wii and squeeze out one more great game
  4. For the Wii U’s price point to be less than $300
  5. To see games that will blow my mind.

Read my impressions of last year’s Nintendo E3 2011 press conference and the announcement of the WiiU from my viewpoint as a Nintendo fan.

Day four of my temporary PC-less existence

Image representing Swype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Today, I’m trying out a new method of blogging. Using the desktop view to type out the post as opposed to the Android and iOS apps i was using over the past few days. Already I’ve hit a few snags.

I first tried using the iPad for this task but it seems that the writing area was designed in flash. I tried all the New Post options available but they were all no go for the iPad. My Samsung Galaxy S2 was marginally better in the sense that typing out the post works but for some reason, the site lags and for every letter i type, it takes about one to two seconds before it actually registers. And Swype doesn’t work at all… pretty strange- I take that back. I’ve had problems when trying to go back and editing bits of what I’ve typed out.

I may just quickly choose to abandon this.

Right. I’ve abandoned the previous method of using the website to type out this post. It was too clunky and didn’t allow for correction of mistakes. Now I’m back to my favoured method of typing, using Swype. 🙂

Slow TV day
I know it’s midweek because the programmes on telly are shite. Apart from reruns of the consistently brilliant Big Bang Theory and the interesting Hidden Talent programme, there just aren’t great programmes around.

Having said that, my mrs has been watching Sex, Lies, And Rinsing Guys with morbid fascination. One segment of the programme where a guy paid one of the gals to verbally abuse him for six minutes reminded me of the last segments Monty Python‘s Argument Clinic sketch when Michael Palin walked into the room for abuse.

The gals all strike me as very selfish and it’s quite reeling that none of them seems to be in a stable family. They’ve all been very hurt in the past and suffered financial or emotional loss and what they’re doing feels like they’re trying to put a bandage over a bleeding wound. Then again, the guys aren’t exactly wise about their money either. Probably have more money than sense or been badly rejected inn the past and are suffering from very low self esteem in their relations with women.

Facebook notification received
Hmmm, just received a notification on my iPad that one of my mates has posted about Diablo 3. Tempted to pick it up but there’s no PC to play it with. Gah.

Oooh, just noticed that the Beach Boys have posted in their Facebook account and encouraged fans to check out the samples of tracks from the album. Goodbye! Time to dose myself in harmonies….

The Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made The Radio – My impressions of their first new single in decades

The Beach Boys circa 2012

The Beach Boys circa 2012

I officially have a new song to have on infinite loop – The Beach Boys, my favourite band of all time, have released the first single of their 50th anniversary reunion – That’s Why God Made The Radio.

It’s phenomenal to hear the living members together again harmonising over the microphones. The blend is still there, the magic is still there.

The first time you hear it, you may think to yourself, “this is pretty mild. Nothing too special about it.” Then you listen again. And again. And again. And pretty soon you find yourself lost in a sea of harmonies and humming along to the different parts. The soaring vocals in classic Brian Wilson-style provide a gentle cover for the song while Mike’s understated smooth bass vocals lend a track an earthy feel to give the track some grounding.

Alan Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks round off the track perfectly. The ending, particularly from 2:22 to 2:35, brings to mind memories of similar vocal masterpieces from tracks like God Only Knows and Good Vibrations. A brilliant way to end the track and to repair their reputation as America’s foremost vocal band of all time.

Wonderful. Simply won- won- won- wonderful.

Songs that’ve impacted me: Tonight It Flows by Mercury Rev

Tonite It Shows by Mercury Rev (mFflow track)

From the opening haunting strings that segue into a melanchony horns section I was enraptured by this beautiful tune. Conceived by art rockers Mercury Rev, it was to be my introduction to their world, a world where music flows, where it’s ingrained in every particle and every sinew.

Q’s Best New Music Of 2000 collection was my central entry point to this world of dreamy pop (or space rock as some call it). Before this, Mercury Rev was an unknown band to me. In terms of what I was listening to at that time, my musical horizons were already indefinitely broadened by the snippets of Smile, the legendary lost Beach Boys album (which Brian Wilson would finally release in 2004 to tremendous critical acclaim – more than 30 years after he had an epic burnout, shelved the album, and went into musical hibernation).

Eventually, on the strength of this single track, I bought their album, Deserter’s Songs ([Affiliate link] Get the album from Amazon) and proceeded to listen to it every day (and night). As an album, it’s one of those that grows on you with the most radio-friendly song on the tracklist being Opus 40.