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Went Caspian

March 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I was a hesitant Phish fan for many years.  I think it just took me a long time to ‘get it’.  But it takes me a long time to ‘get’ most trends.  I guess I’m just slow like that.

Then again, Phish are hardly a trend. They’re something very special and timeless.  A successful experience with Phish is one that appeals to the very essence of what it means to be a human being – the realization that we can revel in melody, in rhythms, and in the communal experience of a concert. And to those who don’t ‘get it’, I can only say that I’m sorry.

Look, you need’nt be a wanderlusting vagabond to appreciate this band. Do not let the reputation that’s perpetuated about a small sect of their fandom keep you away.  In a time where the market is absolutely saturated with bands – most of whom are bereft of staying power or individuality – Phish are one of the great forces in rock and roll that still care to share their abilities with audiences.

Sorry, what’s the cause for this screed? Most Phish fans get pulled into the band via one specific song, or jam.  For me, the performance that really hooked me was their ‘Prince Caspian’ from the Great Went.  It’s not necessarily a ‘jam’ per-se, but instead an exposition for the guitar.  But in being so, it also demonstrates what Phish do best.  Here you have essentially one long solo, but in that solo are several different melodies, all completely spontaneous, and all resolutely furnished by the other three members.  It’s a real triumph.

So if you hate my self-important soliloquies, then I’m truly sorry I wasted your time.  But if you’re curious about what it takes to turn a normal dude/casual fan into a normal dude/serious fan, then look no further…

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Mumford and Sons – The Cave

March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s a tidy, little performance of a standout song from Mumford & Sons, one of my favorite new folk acts.  Their album ‘Sigh No More’ has been on almost constant repeat in my car for the last week.  Enjoy…

(action starts at :30)

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The War on Drugs – A Needle in your Eye #16

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Kurt Vile rocks.  I want to make that very clear.  And quite frankly, his solo work – especially the careening opus, ‘Freaktrain’ – says more than enough about the intensity of his talent.  I had already been a fan of said work when I was turned on to The War on Drugs – his pet rock band with Massachusetts native, Adam Granduciel.  No doubt both sides of Vile are similar.  Both have a haunting, desert drone and a propulsion that weigh heavy on the general vibe.  But, and many Vile fans may disagree, I think War on Drugs’ ‘Wagonwheel Blues’ is a much more concise, and ultimately fully-realized offering than anything in Vile’s solo catalogue.  It’s all balls – rock star stuff, and I’m a shameless sucker for a good hook.  But I’m also just a normal dude from the ‘burbs.  It’s so interesting to me that Vile, a guy – unlike me – clearly in touch with a ‘Freak’ element, can curl up next to a juicy hook as well.

p.s. – Don’t miss ‘Wagonwheel Blues’ 10-minute swan song ‘Show Me the Coast.’  It’s one of those songs that strides easily in the weighty shoes of a potentially-grandiose title.

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Stephen Stills – Manassas

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

“A sprawling masterpiece, akin to the Beatles‘ White Albumthe Stones‘ Exile on Main St., orWilco‘s Being There in its makeup, if not its sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been styles touched on in Stephen Stills’ career, and the skilled, energetic musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album. What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement.” – Allmusic

How nobody ever mentions the tune ‘Colorado’ as a touchstone of the alt-country genre is totally beyond me.

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She Keeps Bees – Stand Where I Can See You

March 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I know very little about this duo beyond that one’s a dude, one’s a chick, one’s a drummer, and one’s a guitarist.  But as any credible write up will tell you, they’re much more Cat Power than they are the other folk in their musical niche – The White Stripes, The Black Keys.  Their tunes are short, and there’s clearly growth that needs to occur, but I’ve found the moody vibe of their stuff consistently fulfilling.

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Elevator Gooing Up!

March 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Like many young people, my discovery of all things music required that I do some compulsory listening.  In other words, I listened to these albums the way a young english student would comb through ‘War and Peace.’ I was curious, but also well aware that this was a classic, and in a shallow way, I felt that I needed to have an opinion on the matter if I was to have any gravitas as a ‘music guy.’ Though half the time I didn’t get the big deal.  ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ ‘Nevermind the Bollocks…,’ ‘Blonde on Blonde,’ – I enjoyed these albums, but it’s fair to say I didn’t comprehend their whole weight.  And I wouldn’t until much later.  I needed many more listens and many more years under my belt.  But I’d always come around. Thankfully…

Yesterday afternoon I finally got the shakes, the shivers, and the sweats from London Calling. Sometimes it just takes a free hour of putting away laundry…

Did you know?

Categories: Music

3/16

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

This is so right in so many ways.

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