Author Archives: bobvinyl

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

Beach Boys – “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”

There are two kinds of outsiders: those who reject society and those who find themselves rejected. In pop music, the former can be found in Johnny Cash’s altruistic “Man in Black” or the Clash’s good-hearted “Bankrobber.” The latter produces the betrayed rage of Black Flag’s “My War,” but also the almost sheepish awkwardness of the Beach Boys “I Just Wasn’t… Read more »

YYY – A Tribute to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds

In an interview, Austin Carson, who is YYY, talked about being inspired by the same Phil Spector “wall of sound” that inspired Brian Wilson, but for most of the album (and all the songs from Pet Sounds itself) he never really achieves that. Where he succeeds is not in the wall, but more in the corners, the subtleties where his… Read more »

How I came to appreciate the Beach Boys

Some bands I just like from the moment I first hear them. Others grow on me over time. Sometimes, returning to a band I hated sheds some new light. But I can only think of one band that I came to appreciate by actively arguing against them: the Beach Boys. While the Beatles versus the Beach Boys is not quite… Read more »

Beach Boys – Today!

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As a songwriter, Brian Wilson falls in the shadow of 60’s peers Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards. As a producer and arranger, he falls in the shadow of Phil Spector. When you look at the longer history of popular music, this makes sense as Wilson just didn’t have the longevity, but in March of 1965, it didn’t. The Beach Boys released Today!… Read more »

The Reverberation Appreciation Society Presents A Tribute To Pet Sounds

The label is not kidding when they call themselves the Reverberation Appreciation Society. Most tracks on the album are the Nigel Tufnel amp versions of reverb (“These go to 11.”). You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a mid-sixties pop song that didn’t work with a little more echo, so the results are mostly listenable. It’s when the bands go beyond… Read more »

Taylor Swift – “‘Tis the Damn Season”

About 25 years ago, the company I was working for turned me into a COBOL programmer. It involved about four months of full time training with a training contractor the company brought on site. The principal trainer owned the contracting company and was significantly more well off than any of us in the class, but he had middle class Baltimore… Read more »

The Dictators – “Let’s Get the Band Back Together”

The Dictators are notoriously ill-timed. Their debut came out a year before the Ramones. The year they were finishing up Manifest Destiny, their follow-up, the Ramones were working on album #3. The Dictators just missed that wave. They broke up too soon to remain in the popular mind as the music they helped spawn gained in popularity. Now, in the… Read more »

Marty Friedman – Tokyo Jukebox 3

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Full disclaimer: I was only able to get through about 2/3 of the 51 minutes of this album. Marty Friedman is the kind of guitar player I really hate. He can put his chops up against anyone, but it’s all wasted on flash rather than performances with substance. Tokyo Jukebox 3 is even more frustrating, because there are hints of… Read more »

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

There’s not usually a lot to say about “super deluxe” re-issues. Listener interest usually depends on how much the particular listener likes the artist and these releases where no stone is left unturned are full of what the super-fan might call essential and everyone else would call filler. And so it is with this “deluxe” version of my favorite Elvis… Read more »

J. Geils Band – Nightmares…and Other Tales from the Vinyl Jungle

There are more than a few instances of what is arguably a band’s best work being overshadowed by lesser later work that was hugely popular. ZZ Top is more associated with a ’33 Ford and long-legged women than they are with the fat guitar tones and loose Texas boogie of their 1970’s output. When most people think of Genesis, 80’s… Read more »