Archive for October, 2011


The Internet is great for a few things

While I may be a self-confessed Pink Floyd fanatic, this concert is excellent, nay essential, listening for any person who has ever enjoyed Dark Side of the Moon… which is essentially everyone with a pair of functioning ears and even the most lowbrow of music tastes. Despite the large amount of bootlegging, it’s always been an anomaly in Pink Floyd’s catalogue that while there are now five official live releases – Ummagumma documenting their very early Gilmour days, Live At Pompeii capturing the zenith of their psychedelic phase, The Wall Live featuring the eponymous album in 1980-81, and Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse featuring the latter day band in a greatest-hits like sense (“dinosaur rock” if you will) – there has never been any album or video released documenting the Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and Animals tours, what is universally regarded as their creative and instrumental peak. Continue reading

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Larry Young’s “Unity”

Easily Young’s most famous record, Unity tears apart all stereotypes about the Hammond Organ. Far from its blues roots or the then-popular Soul Jazz, Unity tips the chilled vibe of the Hammond on its head, entering into a frantic post-bop excursion. Young didn’t go alone either; with trumpeter Woody Shaw, who composed half the tunes, stalwart tenor Joe Henderson and the beyond-enthusiastic Elvin Jones on drums, this album was bound to be excellent. Continue reading

Nah. No description for this one. You all know it, but you have to listen to it again. Music doesn’t really get better than this.

Kooyeh – Again at the Lansdowne

So we’ve had something of a residency at the Lansdowne. Frankly, it’s not a glamourous place, the beers are overpriced and the sound guys often suck. But I have to say, it’s our kind of place. It’s just grungy enough to have a bit of character, but not so grungy that it’s dank, and uncomfortable. Sure it’s not ideal, but if you’re not there for the music or the steak then you’ve kinda missed the point. Continue reading

Guest Entry: Andrew Hill’s “Pax”

Edit: In my haste to publish this excellent article I forgot to attribute it to the writer himself, the legendary Jono “Funny Man” Savery. 

For most of his lifetime, Andrew Hill was under-heard and under-rated. Though there was a sudden surge in recognition late in his career, the problem is that, while those who have heard him now tend to revere him, far too many jazz-listeners have not. Why is he so obscure? It probably has something to do with two things. Firstly, when describing Andrew Hill, the most common adjectives you will hear are ‘cerebral’, ‘complex’ and ‘challenging. This obviously isn’t a bad thing, but cerebral isn’t what draws the crowds. Secondly, he never really slotted nicely into any of the many sub-genres of jazz; rather he traversed the line between the outside and the straight-ahead without ever falling strictly into either. He’s often called ‘avant-garde’, but that doesn’t do him justice. Nor is he really hard-bop, whatever that means. The tracks may go head-solo-head, but neither the head nor the solos are what you normally hear given the hard-bop label. Continue reading

If There Is Something

I’ve been going through one of those phases recently. I was considering reviewing this entire album (Roxy Music’s debut), but I quickly realised that despite how many times I’ve listened to it, I’m still not sure if I get it. Although I think “getting” Roxy Music would be antithetical to their entire cause; like an unholy marriage of Sgt. Peppers and Dadaism, Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno and co. served to stylise and obfuscate simultaneously. The songs were profound, but only to the point where you realise that you still have no idea what they’re talking about. Continue reading

Quiet Child at the Lansdowne

So it’s Saturday night at the Lansdowne. You’ve paid $16 for a jug of beer, there’s some punk rock band on the stage, the place is packed and the sound guy confuses quality with volume. Hey, that’s cool, you know what you’re getting, and to the bar’s credit, it never fails to deliver on that. We’ve written about this before; while sometimes it involves being engulfed in a sea of mediocrity, there is the persistent hope that something will eventually challenge the stereotype. Continue reading

When you get down to it, it’s really very hard to describe something wonderful. The word itself doesn’t make it easy; it sits comfortably amongst ‘fantastic’, ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’ and ‘terrific’ in the pantheon of useless descriptors. Ultimately these words fall flat when you really want to convey what it is that makes something so affecting. This is the problem that faces anyone trying to convey just what it is that makes My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless such a remarkable rock record, arriving in 1991 to be the second and – to date – final record by the Irish four piece. It is one of those records; commercially unsuccessful, critically adored, hugely influential, and inspiring a fierce devotion from those who fall under its spell. It’s a record that’s got something no other has, something that twists and turns when you try and pin it down. Really there’s no way to ‘get it’ other than to hear it, but you’re not going to do that without some motivation, some reason to hunt it down, crank the volume and press play. Pay attention. Continue reading

People

 

So I was looking through some drum solos on Letterman’s show following a recommendation by Bill Bruford to check out Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, when I stumble upon this. There are two things that shock me, although in retrospect, neither should. Not only is Justin Bieber actually not a bad drummer, but all of the comments on the video make it out as if he was some pathetic try-hard. Yes yes, Youtube comments are for very silly people, I’m aware. It’s just an interesting universe when he’s disparaged for actually showing a degree of talent whereas a Youtube “drum cover” star like Cobus gets to sell DVDs.

 

If you didn’t know who Justin Bieber was, could you really tell the difference between the two?

Well, ain’t that something. Those wacky young Chili Peppers have finally gone and made something of themselves. Oh sure, they’ve been a few places, seen a few things in their time. They’ve even written some mighty fine music. But with the release of I’m With You (2011), they’ve proved that, underneath all the tattoos and incomprehensible, quasi-spiritual California-isms, they’ve got some real character. It’s a good thing too; things were looking grim there for a while, artistically speaking. The popularity juggernaut that was 2006’s Stadium Arcadium may have scored the boys a bundle of successful singles and awards, but it really represented a low point for the band. Once you got past the likes of ‘Dani California’ and ‘Snow (Hey Oh)’ you were faced with a disgustingly bloated (28 songs over 2 hours) double album where a bland and repetitive production made all the tracks sound boring, regardless of whether they were any good. Combined with the departure of (kinda) long time guitarist John Frusciante, the future of the Chili Peppers was looking uncertain. But then, this is the band that can’t stay still, for better or worse. From their early (criminally ignored) days in the ‘80s as purveyors of so-goofy-its-hardcore funk rock they’ve progressed steadily through near-metal nihilism, Beach-Boys-on-downers, and Stadium Arcadium’s bland-o-rock. Though it is not without the musical and lyrical tics that will always make the Chili Peppers good for a cringe or two, I’m With You reminds us that this is one band that is not afraid of the future.

Continue reading