ryan music
Ryan Daine clutches a copy of Pink Floyd's classic concept album, The Dark Side Of The Moon. This copy was pressed in 1973, the same year the album was released. It is one of his favorites from his collection.

QuaranTunes: A Collection of Reviews Pulled Straight From Album Crates

Ryan Daine

Spending endless hours, days and weeks stuck inside the walls of home, most of us have struggled with finding anything to do to keep ourselves entertained. When Netflix runs out of good recommendations, eating out of pure boredom is starting to add a few pounds, and the paint on your wall has finished drying, what is there left to do?

If you’re lucky enough to have them, a record player, some vinyl and a loud speaker or two is, in my opinion, the perfect way to pass a few hours.

If records aren’t your style, don’t let your fretboards waver; use digital streaming, cassettes, CDs or whatever one's preferred medium is, to just turn on, tune in and drop out. The following are reviews focused on a few albums that I’ve had on repeat during the COVID-19 pandemic. All albums are in vinyl format and played on an Audio-Technica LP60 turntable, all being funneled through a late 80’s Technics SU-G86 Stereo Amplifier and booming out of two Technics tower speakers - very loudly of course.

“Peripheral Vision,” a shoegaze/dream-rock album from Virginia Beach indie rock band Turnover

The atmosphere created from Turnover's 2015 sophomore album “Peripheral Vision,” becomes apparent from the moment the needle drops into the first groove, the glorious sound of pedal-aided guitar flowing throughout the room. Encapsulating listeners in a sound that seems to almost come from a dream, the album's 11 tracks leads one down a rabbit hole of a narrative concerning the topic of a forgone love and the implications which reverberate thereafter.

“Peripheral Vision” works like a well-oiled machine, with the four band members present on the album all working in sublime synchronicity to create perhaps one of the most well crafted shoegaze sounds; no easy feat for a band that started its career as a pop punk band in 2011. The dual guitars float and roll out of the speakers like nighttime rain off of a metal roof. Bass and drums are always present, keeping the structure tight and helping to add a slight flair of rock to the dreamy noise, a combination that truly works in a magnificent fashion and is the true underrated hero of the record.

In addition to the superb instrumental work on the album, “Peripheral Vision” absolutely drips with emotionally charged lyrics which intertwine with themes of lost love, psychedelic experiences and mental health throughout the whole ordeal. Tracks like “New Scream” plead with an airy sense of urgency: “Everyday I’m craving that new scream, lusting for more than just old dreams. I’ve been dying to feel alive, and I’ve been wasting all my time, chasing a high.” “Intrapersonal” shifts the narrative to the other half of the lost love central to the album's narrative and ties everything up with beautiful imagery: “Native delirium. Are you a daughter of this new insomnia? My hypochondria will be just pass the bloom, pull up my deepest roots. A graceful poison like a wave of vile blight.”

To wrap everything up, “Peripheral Vision” truly is a special album that can entertain anyone from pop-listeners to indie kids. There really is something for everyone to like and Turnover makes it all too easy to completely fall in love with their dreamy instrumentals and lush songwriting. Turnover has put out two more records since “Peripheral Vision,” which include “Good Nature,” an album that kept the shoegaze style of rock but traded out the more negative lyrics for feel-good tales that feel like a summer hike through the woods. Their latest effort “Altogether” finds the band incorporating a more synthpop sound, with less emphasis on guitar work. Both albums are fantastic and highly recommended.

“Sweet F.A.,” an indie rock EP from Canadian alternative rock band, Peach Pit

“Sweet F.A.,” the 2016 debut effort from the Canadian four-piece band, Peach Pit should come packaged with the following added warning label: “WARNING: THIS EP IS LIABLE TO TRANSPORT LISTENERS TO A STATE OF ETERNAL SUMMER, WHERE THE WEATHER IS ALWAYS PLEASANTLY MILD, SUNSETS PAINT ABSTRACT LANDSCAPES IN THE EVENING SKY, AND GOOD TIMES ARE ALWAYS TO BE HAD. LISTEN AT YOUR OWN RISK.” The four track EP comes off just like that––a shimmery and bubbly collection of fantastic indie rock which paints mental images of lazy summer days spent in the cool shade of a friendly tree. The recommended listening environment includes a sunny day, sweet floral scents being carried on breeze, open windows and a cold drink by your side.

“Peach Pit,” the opener of the EP which curiously shares a name with the band, is the real knockout highlight of the work. A dreamy tale of summer love, the song’s five minute runtime cascades through fluttery imagery and rolling melodies before culminating in a powerful yet gently shimmery guitar solo that makes all other indie rock bands jealous.

Perhaps the most accessible body of work on this list, “Sweet F.A.” set Peach Pit off on a running start, and has allowed them to grow into a fully touring band that has since put out two albums, “Being so Normal” and “You and Your Friends.” Both works largely stay true to Peach Pits core sound - fluid drums and bass, witty and shimmery lyrics and excellent guitar leads and solos; both albums are definitely recommended.

“Led Zeppelin I,” a classic rock album from British pioneers, Led Zeppelin

The record that arguably birthed heavy metal, or at least acted as one of its key precursors, “Led Zeppelin I” has been a favorite of classic rock enthusiasts since it’s 1969 release. Put simply, this album sounds its absolute best in vinyl format. Regardless of format, this album needs to be played LOUD . . . like, very loud.

Featuring a quartet of masterful musicians, only greatness could be achieved with such a lineup. Robert Plant's vocals roll over and over with tales of womanly deception on “Dazed and Confused” and flex every octave of his insane vocal range following the breakdown on the muscular closer “How Many More Times.” Jimmy Page, the guitar wizard, further flexes the chops he picked up from his time with The Yardbirds, on the explosive opener “Good Times Bad Times” and the biting “Communication Breakdown.” John Bonham and John Paul Jones, on drums and bass respectively, keep the rhythm section tight and raw, offering superb musicianship and intense aggression in their playing.

The songs on “Led Zeppelin I” hit extremely hard, and helped to lay the foundation for metal and hard rock groups albums to come such as 1970’s “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath, garage-punk bands like The Ramones and Thee Oh Sees of more recent fame. This album is a timeless classic and a true testament to what happens when four stellar musicians, each masters at their own craft, come together to create perhaps the best band from rock music ‘Classic Era.’ From the first bass drum kick of “Good Times Bad Times,” to the final guitar pull off of “How Many More Times,” Led Zeppelin is a must listen for anyone who possesses ears and a brain between them.