Archive for April, 2011

Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #25

Just about anyone from my generation who became a teenager in the 1970s is going to be extremely familiar with today’s Sunday Big Note artist. Indeed, the debut solo effort by this group – Tales of Mystery and Imagination, released in 1976 – is considered to be a classic album. Of course, I’m speaking of The Alan Parsons Project.
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Today’s Ear Worm: The Game

Das Pop are a Belgian band who first became known through their victory in the 1998 edition of Humo’s Rock Rally. I never really thought much of them though I did buy their debut album “I Love” when it first came out, which left me underwhelmed.

Fast forward to the here and now, and Das Pop have a new album out called “The Game”. I haven’t heard the full album yet, but the title track I must say is an absolute gem. The retro-style introductory vamp, the vocals, the guitars, the production: this is as close as a pop song gets to being perfect.

Don’t take my word for it though — check out the official video (which itself isn’t too shabby either!):

Update: For those who cannot view the above video, Urbangraffito has provided this Grooveshark link.

Have an ear worm to share yourself? Do tell.

AltRock Extravaganza – 2011

From the very first instant I received a CD release from the independent AltRock label from Milan, Italy, I have been increasingly impressed by the exceptional quality of their releases (see Yugen & Rock In Opposition posted on Saturday, October 30th, 2010). Indeed, the AltRock label appears to be increasingly the “go to label” for prog music lovers. The following four new releases which arrived in my mailbox only add to this label’s increasing appeal. Now, “Let’s hear it for a great Italian label…”
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Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #24

From the very first time I heard Eddie Jobson perform as a member of Frank Zappa‘s band in 1976-77, I was immediately drawn to the style and playing of this virtuoso violinist/keyboard player. Whether it was Zappa compositions, or those of Roxy Music, Jethro Tull, or even his own solo work or through the supergroup U.K. – Jobson’s style was and is uniquely his very own.
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This Is What Frank Zappa Heard – Sept.9th,1973

Napoleon Murphy Brock’s physical CD, This Is What Frank Zappa Heard, recorded live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii on September 9th, 1973 gives an example of what Frank Zappa heard when he was looking for a lead singer for the Roxy band. Available from CDBaby for $19.00 (US). Listen to brief samples here.

Get Yer Zappathon On

Zappathon 2011

Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #23

Although Manassas only released two albums in their brief history as a band – the double album, Manassas, released on April 12th, 1972, and Down The Road on April 23rd, 1973 – the impact of these two albums is really quite undeniable. There are many who consider Manassas’ debut album somewhat of a masterpiece, and even though I wouldn’t go quite that far with that assumption, myself, Manassas were a very unique ensemble to say the least. As Stephen Stills comments in the above interview, he and his assembled musicians were able to accomplish a lot musically under the banner of Manassas.
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Ed Palermo 2011

Zappa & The Mothers – Does Geography and Media Influence Musical Tastes

Having grown up on the Bible Belt of Western Canada where the only sources of musical entertainment for the longest time were the local Country & Western and adult easy listening radio stations, it’s hard to imagine such a place nurturing such a Zappa and Mothers freak as myself. That’s right, two stations on the AM dial. The rock music format did not even reach Northern Alberta until the mid-60s, and then, it was top 40 radio, and the usual repetitious one that so many are accustomed to with that particular format. FM radio wouldn’t even appear until the mid-70s. So, local record stores followed these top 40 stations as a guide on what to order, and likewise promoters on which touring acts to bring through town.
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Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #22

Usually, when most think of the Irish hard rock band, Thin Lizzy, formed in Dublin in 1969, songs like “Whiskey in the Jar”, “Jailbreak” and especially “The Boys Are Back in Town” come to mind. Not surprising since these songs are still staples of hard rock and classic rock stations. Yet, as a hard rock band, peculiarly enough, it wasn’t until their fifth album, Fighting, in 1975, and the advent of their twin guitar sound that they really began to achieve lasting success as a group, followed by their breakthrough album, Jailbreak, in 1976.
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