Friday, October 31, 2008

Break from the Classics for a Solo Newbie

As all 3 of you who read this blog regularly know, I've lately been focusing on classic albums. Today will be different. I have uploaded the debut solo album from Brad Barr, better known as the lead singer/lyricist/guitarist for rock trio The Slip. The album's totally instrumental, but, it's pretty incredible, powerful stuff. And I like hyping it, so...get it while it's hot.

I might recommend the opening track, "Sarah through a Wall" and also the odd Nirvana cover, "Heart Shaped Box."

Enjoy. More classics to come soon.

Are A**x H***i, Larson and I the only ones left who care anymore?

Anyone else wanna contribute?

I'm calling out to all ya'll... Download HERE

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Prolyphic and Reanimator - The Ugly Truth

After 2007, which was a banner year for hiphop (think Kala, I'll Sleep When You're Dead, The Cool, and American Gangster), 2008 has been pretty slow, with the rap/rock pendulum seeming to swing back the other way. One crucial exception is this album, equal parts Eminem, Atmosphere, and Brother Ali, which is easily the best underground release of the year. DJ Reanimator drops diamond-tough, lazer-guided beats, while MC Prolyphic raps with a force not heard since the white guy from Detroit laid the mic down. So. Fucking. Hard.

Prolyphic and Reanimator - The Ugly Truth

Thursday, October 16, 2008

To paraphrase Olivia Newton-John, "Let's get classical!"

Alot of people don't realize that Frank Zappa never did drugs. Most of you probably just reread that and are now wondering why I've begun lying on this blog to inflate my already self-aggrandizing ego. In fact, I am telling the truth; Zappa was notorious for living on a diet of cigarettes and coffee only. He wouldn't even allow his band members to do drugs.

Most people point to the names of Zappa's children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Ehmuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen, and suggest that the acid didn't fall too far from the tree. In fact, there was no acid; Zappa frequently decried the trippy-dippy nature of 1960s psychedelic rock, even, unlike John Lennon, during the actual 1960s. This album was Zappa's answer, as you might guess from the cover art, to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He asserts sarcastically, "Who needs the peace corps?" [From a political standpoint, I might recommend his bitch-slap on CNN's Crossfire from the mid 1980s investigations into obscenity on recording albums <--Way before Jon Stewart ever did it...]

I could've posted Joe's Garage, which is perhaps a better known album, but simply doesn't showcase the outright bizarre oddity that is We're Only In It For the Money. Some of his more comedic, better known songs, (I might suggest "Jewish Princess" or "Catholic Girls") are great, but not indicative of his true genius. He was also a classically trained composer; his last public appearance before his death from prostate cancer, was by invitation to conduct a German chamber ensemble through his song "G-Spot Tornado."

This album is very weird. I'd recommend headphones and perhaps some of that stuff Zappa wouldn't touch. Listen to it in full first...but for clarification's sake, I think it's extremely important to note that many of these songs do stand alone, both lyrically and musically, separate from the larger cohesive unit of the LP as a whole. Most notably: "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body," "Concentration Moon" and "Bow Tie Daddy." When listening, keep in mind that this album was released in January of 1968. If I turn just one of you on to Frank Zappa, I'll consider it all worthwhile.

Happy Thursday morning...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

The story: dude breaks up with his band and his girlfriend simultaneously. Lost in the world, he sets off for his dad's hunting cabin in Wisconsin, to seclude himself under the snow and piece his life back together. After a few weeks, he picks up his guitar again and starts playing and the songs just come. And after a few months of strumming away alone in that cabin in the dead of winter, an album is done. Hence, "Bon Iver" = bon hiver = "good winter" in French.

So what does 4 months of total seclusion sound like? One of the most intensely beautiful acoustic albums since "Pink Moon". The comparisons to Iron & Wine and Elliott Smith can be made, sure, but as Pitchfork said its more like the solo album TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe never made. The contrast of Justin Vernon's powerful voice against the most subtle instrumentation is just fucking perfect. Simply put, you need this album in your life.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Superest of Super Groups

Yes, that's right folks. Welcome back to Classic Rock Album Time. I received alot of warm regards and well-heeded advice regarding my little shindig here. In the late 80's, five super-hit songwriter guitarists got together, almost entirely out of coincidence and convenience, to record a song. Those 5, George Harrison (of Beatles fame, maybe you've heard of 'em?), Bob Dylan (the Real Bard), Roy Orbison (voice of rare beauty), Jeff Lynne (of the Electric Light Orchestra and shockingly, the most minimal household name of the 5) and Tom Petty (the consummate hitmaker), were collectively referred to as The Traveling Wilburys.

They took on aliases, as Wikipedia explains, and nowhere on the entire album is it discussed whom is actually whom:
It's a pretty stellar album, and was nominated for a multitude of Grammys (not that that really means anything, but...) More significantly, and perhaps more poignantly, just over two months after its release, Roy Orbison died of a sudden heart attack. Impressively, the album sold more than any Dylan album had ever sold (at that point...I think his Greatest Hits has since eclipsed that mark.)

The hit that you'll probably know is the title track, "Handle With Care," which was recorded to such delight that the fivesome regrouped to record a full album. They're all pretty great though, each with a solid hook, strong, subtly poignant lyrics incorporating elements of each individual member's contributions.

If you've never heard it, I implore you to download it. How's this for a classic rock album selection?