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Old 03-08-2010, 07:14 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Hands-down the greatest proto-punk record ever. If you down get hooked by the first dirty riff, you might not have a soul.

This single record solidified the Stooges as THE seminal gritty rock band, something that the commodified punk rock never eclipsed, even though it predated their existence by some seven years or so. There was nothing in the first, second, or any other wave of punk rock that came close to capturing the rawness that Fun House established as far as I'm concerned. Probably one of the most exciting wrenches thrown into the cogs of music history.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:02 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Wow...It's been so long since I've been through this thread and I can honestly say I have no idea why I've ignored it for so long. The Marvin Gaye album alone may be the best music related tip I've gotten in a long time.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:04 PM   #43 (permalink)
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thanks for the heads up on those, have to check them out
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:56 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Dzyan – Electric Silence (1975)


"Ihr Ganzes Krautrock Sind Gehören Uns!!"

1. Back To Where We Come (8:57)
2. A Day In My Life (4:03)
3. The Road Not Taken (4:54)
4. Khali (4:55)
5. For Earthly Thinking (9:38)
6. Electric Silence (4:30)

Reminiscent of Can at their most percussive whilst incorporating the improvisational tendencies of an ethnic jazz ensemble, Dzyan are a strangely underrated bunch from Germany's Krautrock boom in the early 70's who scoured the cosmos in their search for musical enlightenment, producing three albums in their explorations from their beginnings in 1972 toward the end of the decade. Electric Silence, the final release in this trio that came out in 1975, is the culmination of the group's labors and a testament to just how powerful music can be when it possesses both striking immediacy and some killer mood setting prowess.



The above opening number 'Back To Where We Come From' is oddly minimalistic for such a spacious, ear-grabber of a track; it defines best what Dzyan can do given some Eastern scales and a wicked bass/drum groove. By the time the guitar revs up a bit after the 5 minute mark and the jam begins to build up speed, it isn't hard to believe why this track, and furthermore the album, are considered oft-ignored classics in the Krautrock genre: it's exotic, but accessible and attractive despite its purely instrumental nature, and Dzyan couldn't have started off this record any better.

However, it's the song numero dos, 'A Day In My Life', where we go from excellent to beyond praise. Sitar dominates this piece from start to finish, strumming along to some wicked percussion lines evocatively in its hypnotic strut towards the finish line. Genius stuff really: you can hear echoes of songs like this in a lot of modern day psytrance and related electronic genres.




Following pieces 'Road Not Taken' and 'Khali' both continue the previously mentioned trends in Dzyan's music: percussion-heavy psychedelia contrasted against sitar and other exotic instrumentation. But it's the track before last, a 9-minute centerpiece 'For Earthly Thinking', where all these elements come together into one composition whist adding some new stuff to the mix: the opening minute features Mellotron, followed by pure acoustics for another minute, then scaling back to low-key percussion and some creepy chamber music as interpreted by Scientist or The Upsetters for the next few minutes, followed by a second half where the insanity is crunched together into something Hendrix might have done had he lived to 1975.

Hence, to put it lightly, this is a phenomenal slice of music. Heck, its mere existence making this album worth getting into your collection by default.

The closing title track is also quite something, if a bit quiet: drums dominate and boom and crash while keyboards vamp away in the distance, ending the album on a fading note that makes you wonder where it might have gone.




I know for some people Krautrock isn't that easy to get into: some folks pick up Can's Tago Mago and Amon Düül II's Phallus Dei for the indie cred and call it a night. However, that would be doing Krautrock and a lot of other music being done in Germany back in the 70's a great disservice. This is a scene full of great bands doing music that even prog-haters today look on with a begrudging respect.

For those who want to get their hands on some quality Kraut, you can't do much better than Electric Silence: it's mesmerizingly memorable!
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:19 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Todd Rundgren– Something/Anything? (1972)


"Can't You See The Light In My Eyes?"

Side One:
1. I Saw the Light (2:56)
2. It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference (3:50)
3. Wolfman Jack (2:54)
4. Cold Morning Light (3:55)
5. It Takes Two to Tango (This Is for the Girls) (2:41)
6. Sweeter Memories (3:36)

Side Two:
1. Intro (1:11)
2. Breathless (3:15)
3. The Night the Carousel Burned Down (4:29)
4. Saving Grace (4:12)
5. Marlene (3:54)
6. Song of the Viking (2:35)
7. I Went to the Mirror (4:05)

Side Three
1. Black Maria (5:20)
2. One More Day (No Word) (3:43)
3. Couldn't I Just Tell You (3:34)
4. Torch Song (2:52)
5. Little Red Lights (4:53)

Side Four:
1. Overture-My Roots: Money (That's What I Want) / Messin' with the Kid (2:29)
2. Dust in the Wind (3:49)
3. Piss Aaron (3:26)
4. Hello It's Me (4:42)
5. Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me (3:56)
6. You Left Me Sore (3:13)
7. Slut (4:03)


In 1972, there was something wrong with you as a musician if you weren't doing something A. extremely marketable or B. something extremely epic and pretentious.

Somewhere between these two extremes lay one Todd Rundgren, who at the ripe old age of 24 almost singlehandedly produced, sang, arranged and did all the instrumentation on this mammoth of a record, while accompanied by a band on the last seven songs. The result is one hell of a snazzy record, a thick brick in the foundation of genres as far ranging as power pop and heavy metal to the Brit. pop/alt. rock of the 90's.

Despite the density of music present though, there is a surprising absence of overt filler, instrumentals aside. Each part of this four-sider touches base with a different approach to Rundgren's songwriting, from the oddly soulful pop of Side A to the more cerebral experimentation of Side C. Although known for hits such as the Carol King-influenced 'I Saw The Light' and summery 'Hello It's Me', the highlights are numerous: 'Couldn't I Just Tell You' is jangly power pop at its best, 'Little Red Lights' flares bright with West Coast psych. riffage, and even the jazzy funk of Motown rears up with 'Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me'.



And hence we come to Rundgren's main strength: long running length aside, one would find it hard to deny that the diversity of styles on Something/Anything? is remarkable. The fact he did most of it on his own makes it even moreso.






Hence, from a variety of perspectives, this is a one of a kind work. Today you won't find many pop musicians who'd have the balls to pull something of this caliber: audiences simply don't have the attention span anymore even if all the individual track lengths are short.

So everyone, don't be a douchebag and feel put off by the massive track list: there's a lot of great songs here. What I've mentioned before is merely the tip of the iceberg.

The world is full of albums worth investing your time into: few will reward such effort as well as this one.


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Old 04-25-2010, 08:48 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Quantum Jump – S/T (1976)


"Taumatawhakatangihangakoayauotamateaturipukakapik imaungahoronukypokaiwhenuakitanatahu"

1. Captain Boogaloo (4:19)
2. Over Rio (4:22)
3. The Lone Ranger (2:55)
4. No American Starship (4:55)
5. Alto Loma Road (4:46)
6. Cocobana HAvana (5:10)
7. Constant Forest (2:17)
8. Something At The Bottom Of The Sea (8:09)


Fresh from two kickarse solo albums and overflowing with new ideas, singer/songwriter Rupert Hine teamed up with ex-Caravan bassist John G. Perry and drummer Trevor Morais (of pop ensemble The Peddlers) to form a group that could make some of these interesting compositions a reality....Quantum Jump. In doing so, Hine brought two worlds together that had yet to become truly acquainted: slick electro-funk and the whimsical jazz-rock of the Canterbury Scene, resulting in this fantastic debut album that doesn't sound quite like anything else around. It's also something of an achievement in the technical department for 1976: there's a major proto-New Wave feel through most of the songs, augmenting an already great sound with a glossy punch to the gonads.

The sucker hits the ground with one hell of a long stride on its opening number, a quirky yet appropriately named 'Captain Boogaloo', jamming at high speed to a chunky bass straddled with some good ol' fun Motown call-and-response. The silliness is quite apparent, but with a groove this good it shouldn't matter. We then cut to a mid-tempo jazzy-soul number 'Over Rio' that gives you a day in the nightlife as it were, followed by the track that put this record on the map -- 'The Lone Ranger'. And when a song opens with the longest word in the human language, you know there's a ride to be had!




Needless to say, this is a debut album from a band at the top of their game: although dominated by an utterly wonderful bass and drumming two-punch, the vocals and guitar remain at the top of the mix as well, giving every single musical note present a real "in your face" quality that some albums from the 70's lack. In particular, pay attention to the jamming in the second half of 'Cocabana Havana' -- they make the Mahavishnu Orchestra look like school children compared to the sheer ferocity displayed in the last 2 minutes here.



Jazz-rock, soul, New Wave, funk, Canterbury Scene...regardless of how Quantum Jump are tagged or what one may think after going through some of these tracks, it's a struggle to deny that these guys had something rather special going on in the sonic department: due to bad and generally lackluster marketing strategy however, Rupert Hine and co. only managed to cut two gem-like albums before going off on their own separate tangents...and none of the resulting work compares to this album's electrical synergy.

At the end of the day, bass aficionados will adore this album. However, this is ultimately a record for anyone who loves good, foot-stomping music with grooves that go all the right places, and I recommend it as much as I can recommend an album to someone: pick this up today!
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:55 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Wow, a lot of stuff I have seen before and lot of stuff I haven't. Dig this place already
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:24 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Rare Bird – Epic Forest (1972)


"Rock n' soul in the forest of old where the crows fly high and the gods grow mold."

1. Baby Listen (3:25)
2. Hey Man (5:53)
3. House In The City (4:25)
4. Epic Forest (9:12)
5. Turning The Lights Out (4:38)
6. Her Darkest Hour (3:33)
7. Fears Of The Night (3:17)
8. Turn It All Around (4:43)
9. Title No. 1 Again (Birdman) (6:05)

Along with bands such as The Nice and Van der Graaf Generator, Rare Bird are one of progressive rock's earliest acts to become relatively popular amongst music fans at the turn of the decade. Their 1969 single 'Sympathy', a dark yet oddly catchy organ led track, sold nearly 1 million copies worldwide by 1971 in and of itself...

..and yet, it's unfortunate, then, that the band was dismissed as a one hit wonder afterwards. This is because their 1972 release, Epic Forest, is one of the catchier and more interesting rock albums of the decade, soulful and electric in all the best possible ways. And the vocals...dayum!

One of the first things you may notice as the thumping 'Baby Listen' takes off is the rhythm section: it's high in the mix, yet doesn't shove the other elements of the sound aside. Rather, it's warm and buttery to the ears, much like a classic Motown single. The punchy drums in particular make a wonderful impression; the only question is...why wasn't this a single?




In any case, an interesting trait emerges out of the woodwork over the course of the album: Epic Forest is often a strangely relaxed affair, with some tracks sitting in an odd yet compellingly murky place between CSN&Y and a Blue Oyster Cult or Zeppelin at their quieter, acoustic moments..with prettier singing. In these sparser moments, such as 'Her Darkest Hour' and parts of "Turn It All Around', the vocal harmonies are spotlighted and kicked up a notch, benefited by some of the best production values of the early 70's.



The real meat of the album, however, is laid bare on two epic pieces that serve as something of a see-saw for the rest of the songs - the roaring title track, which picks up quite a bit of power as it sets itself in for a 9 minute run, and the closing miniature 'Title No. 1 Again (Birdman)' which starts to shred wickedly about 2 minutes in before morphing into something that wouldn't be out of place in The Yes Album in structure, but with the steel guitar punch of a classic Deep Purple workout. For me at least, these two tracks make the album: the lengths are justified by the talent displayed here, letting the band build up to climaxes that would make even jazz-fusion ensembles jealous.




At the end of the day, Rare Bird most certainly fall into the area that people of today's generation would refer to as 'classic rock'...and yet on this album there was a sense of balance and congruity that detractors normally say isn't there in arguments of why the 70's were overblown and outrageous.

Simply put, this is amazing rock-oriented music: more intricate than the stuff your parents like, but not the point where it's inaccessible by anyone with an ear for a riff today. The recent remaster has also knocked what minor chinks there were in the production back then and added some great bonus tracks to boot!

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the Bird today!
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:39 PM   #49 (permalink)
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The Wombles – Keep On Wombling (1974)


"And remember kids - Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish!"

1. Womble of the Universe (3:41)
2. The Orinoco Kid (3:17)
3. The Jungle Is Jumping (3:21)
4. Underground Overture (2:40)
5. Hall Of The Mountain Womble (1:45)
6. Look Out For The Giant (2:21)
7. Wombling Twist (3:00)
8. Tobermory's Music Machine (2:17)
9. Wipe Those Womble Tears From Your Eyes (3:42)
10. Invitation To The Ping-Pong Ball (3:49)
11. Wombling Merry Christmas (3:21)


In an odd twist that might surprise some, the top charting band in the U.K. circa 1974 was not a band that many people really remember today...unless one was familiar with a children's television show characterized by furry long-nosed mole/troll things that live in burrows and recycle/put to good use the stuff that people normally trash or flush away.

What show am I talking about you might ask? Why The Wombles of course!






However, the actual critters that star in this great show are not what I'm getting into here today -- rather, I'll be going through the band which was inspired by them, started off by the chap who wrote the opening theme in the above vid, Mike Batt, and a fun little album he and some of the musicians he got together released in 1974 called Keep On Wombling.

Typically, it's a concept album despite its source material and bubblegum nature, based on a dream cycle that a certain Womble by the name of Orinoco where he goes through a variety of strange lands and settings. Hence, there's a refreshing eclecticism about the record which separates it from a rest of the rubbish spawned from childrens' TV, with a distinct Beatles vibe to boot.

And speaking of which, opening shot 'Womble of the Universe' wouldn't be too out of place on Abbey Road's cutting room floor: it brims with cheerio and harmony with a baroque bouquet. Typical in structure, it makes up for it in mood.




The album waltzes through other styles in its half hour running time, each one proving more entertaining than the last: 'The Orinoco Kid' gives me an early 70's Beach Boys vibe whilst 'Wipe Those Womble Tears From Your Eyes' is almost country in its aspirations. My personal favorite pieces, however, go to the especially buoyant 'Jungle Is Jumping' and the oriental 'Invitation To The Ping-Pong Ball' respectively, where dissonance and the stranger influences that pervade become more apparent.




Considering all the ground covered here though - including a rather amusing cover of Hall of the Mountain King -If ever there was a time capsule in music for the variety of pop styles that emerged in the turbulent 70's, this album proves a worthy candidate: who would have thunk that a band inspired by stop-motion animation would be able to pull off something this good in half the time most LPs at the time were?

To fans of early power pop, British animation, fermented psychedelia or if you are just looking for something curious to add to your collection: pick this up The Wombles immediamente!
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:06 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Oh hey, glad to know I'm not the only fan of Something/Anything. That's an incredible pop record.
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