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Old 01-29-2009, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Anthill - Anteater's Reviews of the Curious & Obscure

Hello friends, food and felons! I am Anteater (or Derek if you prefer). Blue, furry and ferocious, I hope to entertain ye' masses with various rants and obscure/not-so-obscure reviews that may or may not conform to your particular views & tastes in music. If you're open-minded though, perhaps you'll learn to like things you never thought you'd like before. I hope anyway, haha!!

Enjoy the journal, and lets keep it cool & civil. There's no particular timetable for the reviews in question, but it will be updated enough to hold long-term interest. Whether you get something out of this, don't, or are simply baffled by my posts, I hope you are entertained to even the smallest of degrees.

And oh yeah....Welcome to the Anthill everyone. Don't forget the oatmeal!

Here is an album index of what I have reviewed thus far:

The Residents - Not Available (1978)
Lucifer's Friend - Banquet (1974)
Pazop - Psychillis Of A Lunatic Genius (1972)
The Vampires of Dartmoore - Dracula's Music Cabinet (1969)
Moon Safari - Blomljud (2008)
Level 42 - World Machine (1985)
Pain of Salvation - Remedy Lane (2002)
Black Widow - Sacrifice (1970)
The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone (2003)
Algarnas Tradgard - Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden (1972)
David Fiuczynski - Black Cherry Acid Lab (2002)
T2 - It'll All Work Out In Boomland (1970)
Yes - Going For The One (1977)
Brainticket - Cottonwoodhill (1971)
Gentle Giant - Acquiring The Taste (1971)
Grobschnitt - Rockpommel's Land (1977)
Ambrosia - Ambrosia (1975)
Lemon Jelly - Lost Horizons (2002)
Mr. Sirius - Barren Dream (1987)
Friendship Time - S/T (1975/2006)
Steve Cole - NY LA (2003)
Hölderlin - Hölderlin's Traum (1972)
Vangelis - The Dragon (1971)
Jeremy Steig - Firefly (1977)
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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(A Troll wanders in and feeds the anteater some ants)
Welcome man! Glad you made it, and looking forward to your posts. Agree with pretty much most of what you say, with one proviso (for me, anyway): I'm a pasty-faced, geeky, bespectacled 40-something (fast approaching 50 --- gulp!) Irish boy who was brought up on the kind of fare they served up on the likes of Top of the Pops, MTV and so on, though I often caught the Tube or the OGWT (Old Grey Whistle Test), and soon my musical leanings had turned towards rock, then heavy rock, then metal, then prog, and then metal again, and now I'm pretty much happy with what I listen to.
I can put on a Josh Groban or Nanci Griffith or Faith Hill CD, and then a Marillion followed by Iron Maiden, finished up with a nice big helping of Grieg or Dvorak, and I enjoy them all. However, I DO know what I DON'T like, and I stay away from it, as life's too short to waste time with music I'm not into HOWEVER I do accept that others like this sort of music (these sorts of music?) and don't rip on 'em. If someone's into jazz, punk. disco, hardcore hip-hop or whatever, I just say, yeah fine, but I dont like it. Doesn't mean it's bad, just that I personally dont like it. Perhaps if more people thought this way there'd be a lot more tolerance?
Anyway, just wanted to drop in and say hi, and hope to read some darn interesting (and hopefully controversial) posts!
Welcome!
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Looking forward to some nice obscure Prog from Mr. Anteater. Although I may have to completely blank you for that post Punk comment
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Old 01-30-2009, 11:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Haha, I actually like Post-Punk (especially Cardiacs) though Jack...but ya know, I just can't help being a mite cynical when I see Joy Division and Sonic Youth on 8 out of 10 Top Ten Artist's lists. Makes me want to say "CMON FOOL, SURPRISE ME A BIT DAMNMIT!! SAY SOMETHING THAT YOUR FRIENDS AREN'T SAYING!"

Anyway, onto my first obscure review...on a concept album relating to obscurity itself!!


The Residents - Not Available (1978)


Track Listing

1. Edweena (9:29)
2. The Making of a Soul (9:59)
3. Ship's A'going Down (6:34)
4. Never Known Questions (7:00)
5. Epilogue (2:21)

Of the dozens of albums within The Residents discography that have cropped up since they started recording officially in the early 70's, there are few which are quite as....odd, I suppose, as this particular record, both in terms of sound and the history of the album itself. The Residents themselves recorded this work after their debut, Meet The Residents, hit shelves in 1974, but afterwards locked it up for 4 years because they felt it provided too easy an entry into their minds and musical philosophy for the listener. So basically, this album would have never become available to anyone if they hadn't been pressured by Cryptic Corporation (their label and spokesmen) to release it, and hence the album's title. They wanted this album to remain locked up forever, out of sight and mind. Good thing that little plan didn't pan out, because this material is far too good to remain buried in some locker. So...hooray for commercial interests! (for once, lol )

Anyway, back on track here: the music itself is difficult to categorize. Not Available is a concept album based around both a love triangle between three characters (Edweena, Porcupine and Catbird) while at the same time postulating about the Theory of Obscurity and the nature of non-existence. The vocals are atonal, the instruments for the most part melodic, and certain musical themes are drawn upon throughout the five tracks, giving it nice flow considering the experimental nature of Not Available's premise. You can hear sax, orchestral elements, harps, lots of drums, guitar, bass, everything under the sun, and it interacts with the relatively dark nature of the lyrics and vocals in some curious, perhaps even unsettling, ways. These descriptions, however, don't do the music justice in any way, shape or form. While I don't do this very often when it comes to music...I can honestly say that this is an album you need to HEAR in order to grasp just how singular and distinctive this album is, not just within The Residents discography but within the whole of music history itself. Corny thing to say I know, but that's just the plain truth of the matter. There literally isn't anything else comparable to this, even within The Residents' discography. Really!!

So, for those of you interested in The Residents, the avant-garde (especially of the Captain Beefheart variety), or experimental music in general, this is a must-hear. While I would recommend The Third Reich 'N Roll or God In Three Persons as entry points into this band's mind-boggling catalogue, I consider Not Available to be a logical next step for anyone who wants to hear these anonymous performers' at their best musically and conceptually. Its quite the interesting ride.

Album Verdict: 6/7

Here's a YouTube video of the first track, Edweena, for you guys' pleasure.

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Last edited by Anteater; 03-10-2009 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am a fan of The Residents but this one hasn't crossed my path yet. Great review and hopefully a few members may give them a listen!
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This definitely looks like it has the opportunity to be a very interesting thread - I'll be watching! Like the rant too - I can't stand people that like to give others s*** for what they listen to. I know I have my favorite genres, but I'm always open for anything and spend hours a week listening to new music (now it's mostly stuff I've been finding through MB ). There's so much out there, I personally am unable to not try listening to new music regularly, and I usually find that there's at least a small redeeming factor, if not more, to almost all music. I love obscure stuff as well; I'm not really a mainstream listener. Looking forward to it! BTW - I really enjoyed that Residents track, I've never heard anything by them before. I now understand why you said it's something you have to hear to grasp.
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Interesting review of an interesting album .. I don't know it myself (it certainly would take a while to get familiar with all their stuff), but your review has made me curious, so I'm gonna see if I can get a hold of it. That track you posted is quite interesting.

And grats on your first review!
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Good review....but where's the random propaganda?
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Random propaganda? You mean like an ad????


MusicBanter Is A Proud Sponser of Starbucks Coffee: Eating Away Your Savings On $5.00 Cups Of Java When You Could Be Playing the Stock Market Instead.

Anyway, time to review one of the best albums ever from a really great German hard-rock group....who nobody seems to know about.

Lucifer's Friend - Banquet (1974)


Track Listing

1. Spanish Galleon (11:50)
2. Thus Spoke Oberon (6:44)
3. High Flying Lady-Goodbye (3:40)
4. Sorrow (11:36)
5. Dirty Old Town (4:46)

There's a rather sad story behind many of the German rock bands in the 60's and 70's, in that it was nearly impossible for them to find exposure outside their home country, plus it was looked down upon for them to write their own compositions.

Example conversation:

Person: "So, you guys are a rock band?"

Band: "Yes."

Person: "Cool! What Led Zeppelin tracks you gonna' cover tonight?"

Band: "None. We wrote all our own stuff!"

Person: "STFU GTFO!!!!!111"

Taking such into a considersation, its a real wonder that Lucifer's Friend, who began as a hard rock band around the same time as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple formed, got ANY exposure at all despite landing a record deal at Vertigo Records (which Sabbath was also on). Despite that however, the exposure was still minimal, as they weren't able to produce that many of their records for distribution. Hence, while anyone and their grandma can tell you who Deep Purple is, they'll just scratch their heads at the mention of Lucifer's Friend.

Anyway, onto the review of this particular work: Of the nine studio albums that Lucifer's Friend ended up putting out before finally biting the bullet for good in the mid 90's, Banquet is without a doubt the peak of their creative output. While "Spanish Galleon" with its swingin' pace and the epic "Sorrow" are major highlights here, the 30-piece brass band behind Lucifer's Friend really show their chops behind the main group, resulting in awesomeness from start to finish.

There's a lot to like for those who get a kick out of great instrumentals: the guitar and piano are both prominent & tasteful, John Lawton (who would later front Uriah Heep) is in top vocal shape here, and the songs themselves never cease to keep one's attention. This is partly due to the rather bombastic big-band vibes due to all the brass background instruments, but all-in-all I would say Lucifer's Friend themselves had captured a unique blend of progressive/hard rock with this record that you just don't see anywhere else today. Its jazzy, its hard, and its a damn lot of fun to blast it out your car speakers as you drive!

So, if nothing else, I recommend Banquet for anyone who wants to hear the best rock this rather poorly exposed German outfit has to offer, and also to check out their 1970 S/T debut if you like this. Listen well and appreciate just how far Lucifer's Friend has progressed beyond those other rock bands of the era in complexity/originality in the space of a mere four years while the rest stuck to their formulaic 3-chord recreations of their debut albums for the rest of their careers (I'm looking at YOU Black Sabbath!!).

R.I.P Lucifer's Friend, and may your music be remembered and appreciated by those who wish to listen to the best that history has forgotten.


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Quote:
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when the looting starts the shooting starts <3
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C H Y N A

Last edited by Anteater; 09-13-2009 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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**** yeah! Spanish Galleon sounds awesome ..

That's another one I'm gonna have to get my hands on. Thanks Anteater!
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