Friday Random Ten, July 31

Jul 31 2009 Published by under Music

  1. Russian Circles, "Youngblood": post rock, in the Mogwai style. Very nice stuff. Not the
    most exciting PR band around, but good.
  2. The Flower Kings, "World Without a Heart": typical FK. Since I pretty much worship the ground
    that Roine Stolte walks on, you can guess what I think of this.
  3. Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, "Transit": would you believe sort-of progressive
    big-band jazz? That's pretty much how I'd describe this. Big band jazz is not my usual cup of tea, but
    this is damned impressive, and a good solid listen. Definitely very cool stuff.
  4. Naftule's Dream, "Yid in Seattle": Naftule's Dream is an alternate name for a wonderful
    Klezmer group called Shirim. When they're doing weird stuff, they record as ND; when they're doing
    traditional, they record as Shirim. ND is klezmer the way that John Zorn and his radical jewish
    culture guys play it. Wild stuff. Brilliant.
  5. Sonic Youth, "Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)": a track from the newest Sonic Youth
    album. This actually sounds more like older SY. In general, they've mellowed a bit over
    time; in particular, they're last album had fewer rough edges. This one keeps the smooth
    production, but brings the edge back to the sound. SY just keeps getting better.
  6. The Tangent, "The Ethernet": the Tangent started out as a collaboration between
    Roine Stolte of the Flower Kings, and Andy Tillison of Parallel or 90 Degrees. Stolte eventually
    quit, leaving Tillison running the band. It's completely replaced Po90D as Tillison's main band.
    It's not quite up there with tFK, but it's damned good.
  7. Keith Emerson Band, "Prelude to Hope": This is an astonishing track. It's Keith Emerson
    playing something beautiful and subtle. I'm a big Emerson fan. He's a brilliant pianist.
    I love his style, and I usually love his compositions. But my opinion of him in the past was that
    if anyone were to suggest that perhaps he should try being a bit more subtle, he'd
    be likely to bash their head in with a sledgehammer, put the body through a wood chipper,
    collect up the bits and burn them to ashes, and then piss on the ashes - just to make sure
    that he made his point clear. And yet... This is a beautiful, subtle piece of playing, from
    a frankly terrific album.
  8. Echolyn, "Lovesick Morning": Echolyn is one of my favorite recent discoveries. They're
    not exactly a new band - they formed in the early 90s, broke up in 95, and then reformed
    a couple of years later. But they're a thoroughly excellent neo-progressive band, with a very
    distinct sound. They don't sound like they're trying to be Genesis, or the Flower Kings, or Yes... They
    sound like nothing but themselves.
  9. Frank Zappa, "Drowning Witch": Typical Zappa. Very strange, wonderfully erratic
    but great music, and incredibly silly lyrics delivered in that strange Zappa style.
  10. Dream Theater, "Wither": Dream Theater's newest. DT is a great progressive
    metal band. Their last few albums were a bit uninspired in my opinion. This one is really
    quite good. Unfortunately, this is one of the weaker songs on the album. Not bad, but not
    exactly what I'd choose to try to turn someone on to Dream Theater.

No responses yet

  • Patrick says:

    I'm heading out to see Sonic Youth tonite. It's 15 years since I saw them last.

  • James says:

    Back in 1968, The Nice played at the Rock Pile in Toronto. My friend Nash the Slash was there with his camera, and got this photo of Emerson.

  • Hephaestus says:

    Mark, how do you listen to your music? Do you have a favorite streaming site that has all this great stuff or do you just have a large and eclectic collection?
    I'm a large and eclectic guy myself, but my collection is getting rather long in the tooth. If there is an on-line source for new prog rock, I'd like to find it.
    Thanks for posting the Random Ten, I really look forward to it and I've found some great new bands because of it.

  • Mark C. Chu-Carroll says:

    Re #3:
    I have a large and strange collection.
    I'm a big fan of emusic.com. They've got an excellent selection, and their price is very reasonable.

  • Hephaestus says:

    eMusic has a lot of potential, but their privacy policy is terrible. They collect everything that they can, including:
    We automatically track certain information based upon your use of the Site. We use this information on an aggregated basis to conduct internal research on our users' demographics, interests, and preferences, and to improve the Site and user experience. This information may include the URL that you just came from (whether this URL is on the Site or not), which URL you next go to (whether this URL is on the Site or not), your computer browser information, and your IP address.
    and then distribute it to anyone and everyone:
    Who are Dimensional affiliates, subsidiaries or joint ventures;
    [or]
    Who are trusted third parties (e.g., promotional partners and advertisers) so that they can promote their products and services and those of their affiliates and partners based on your preferences and interests.
    This includes all "personally identifiable information", short of your credit card number and e-mail address. Their policy is absolute "opt-in", with opting-out only possible by sending an e-mail to a service account.
    Even finding out what the subscription plans are all but requires you to provide name and address information.
    I think that I'll wait until someone comes along with a more customer-friendly privacy policy.

  • MattR says:

    I'd agree that DT's later works don't seem as inspired as the first few (Images & Words and A Change Of Seasons are probably my favourites, along with Metropolis Part 2); however, there's some really cool stuff going on conceptually.
    Octavarium is probably my favourite for this (from a music/maths perspective): the album changes key along a scale (I think it's the chromatic, but I haven't listened to it for a while) as part of the tracks/interludes, and each track features an element of its track number as part of its time signature (1/8, 2/8, 3/8 etc).
    I'd also recommend creating a playlist of all the Alcoholics Anonymous songs; as a single entity they're far more interesting than separately.
    Systematic Chaos was also a lot cooler live. (John Myung's bass playing is rather hypnotic.)
    You're right though, Mark: if you wanted to introduce someone to DT, you'd need to go to their earlier work to get a feel for the really good songs. The later work is much more focussed on the overall album (or 'meta-album' sequence) than single songs.

  • Der Senator says:

    The Emerson track is brilliant. Subtlety may never have been his forte (see linked photo above) but if you listen to, say, the counterpoint in the opening minute of "Karn Evil 9" you know that he certainly has an ear for nuance and detail. There are a few blazing moments on this disc -- I love most of "Finale" and the solo on "Marche Train" reminds me of the "Blues Variations" from Pictures at an Exhibition -- I just wish it didn't all feel so, well, recreational. Part of that is the recording style, part is the vocal style of Marc Bonilla. Still, it's great to hear that Hammond again.

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