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Showing posts from November, 2018

J Mascis - Elastic Days

Arriving on the iconic Sub Pop label 2 years after the very good "Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not" by Dinosaur Jr, the latest solo album from the alternative rock legend, J Mascis, is full of exactly what you'd expect. Catchy chord progressions, world-weary vocals and face-melting solos feature throughout. 

Whilst the vibe and sound is much more relaxed and laid back than Dinosaur Jr's heavier and more aggressive work, unsurprisingly the quality bar is just as high. Ever since Dinosaur Jr reformed in 2005 the work the music produced has been consistently good from "Beyond" to the above mentioned "Give A Glimpse.."

Lead track, "See You At The Movies" sets the tone from the outset. Fluid lead guitar work flows in an effortless sounding stream from the fret-board.



"Web So Dense", (with some nice Mellotron 'cello'), "I Went Dust" and "Sometimes" feature nice changes of pace in the back half of each song. &qu…

Songs To Die To - Part 2

Continuing a series about songs death and dying. These are not necessarily songs that talk about the process of dying, rather as the title suggests, songs that I could imagine listening to on my death bed, or taking as consolation during or after a funeral. 

Morbid? I think not, as death is part of life. If we all talked about it a little more, maybe we'd cope with it better. With that said here's my next choice.


No 2 - "Look On Down From The Bridge" - Mazzy Star


If, upon listening to this song, you can't imagine why this song is here, then you are perhaps suffering from a lack of imagination! The way the organ starts with the simple 3 chord sequence could actually be from a funeral service. The volume swell guitar parts that make it a sound like a violin. The fragile vocals. The lyrics themselves.

"Everybody seems so far away from me, everybody just wants to be free.
Look away from the sky, it's no different when you're leaving home
I can't be the sam…

Bohemian Rhapsody - Film Review

(photo:QueenOnline.com) What makes a good rock biopic? Is it slavishly accurate chronology and detail? Is it a no holds barred dishing of the dirt? If so then "Bohemian Rhapsody" fails on both counts.
I would suggest that THE one thing a good rock biopic needs is that you believe that you are watching the character(s) depicted, not an impersonation. In the case of Rami Malik's performance as Freddie Mercury, success of the highest order was achieved. 
Despite this being billed as a Queen biopic, it really is a film about Freddie. Whilst the film does make the clearly valid point that Freddie needed the rest of Queen as much as they needed him, from a story point of view, much as he was on stage, Freddie is a charisma tsunami sweeping all before him.
Malik superbly portrays the private vulnerability as well as the strutting public confidence. The rest of the band play their roles well, with Gwilym Lee in particular capturing the mannerisms and voice of Brian May convincingly.

Set Lusting Bruce Appearance

Just a short post to mention that I was recently a guest on Jesse Jackson's excellent Set Lusting Bruce podcast.

It was really fun to do as Jesse is an excellent host and very easy to talk to. 

You can listen via your usual podcast provider, or at Jesse's website,

http://setlustingbruce.libsyn.com/

The blog post we discuss can be found here:

http://www.powderfingerspeaks.com/2018/08/a-musical-epiphany-bruce-springsteen.html

The blog post I tease on the podcast talking about "Land Of Hope And Dreams" is here:

http://www.powderfingerspeaks.com/2018/11/songs-to-die-to-part-1.html

I hope you enjoy it.

Jesse's Twitter: @JesseJacksonDFW
My Twitter: @powderfinger71

Classic Album Review: On The Beach by Neil Young

In honour of Shakey's 73rd birthday, here are my thoughts on what I consider his best album, "On The Beach" (OTB).



The middle album of the 'Doom Trilogy' but actually the last to be recorded, OTB was released in 1974. After Reprise baulked at the unremittingly bleak, but almost equally amazing 'Tonight's The The Night' (TTN), the slightly lighter mood of OTB held within it some of Young's greatest songs. The vibe of this album is noticeably different from TTN, most likely as more time had passed since the deaths of Danny Whitten and Bruce Berry which had plunged Young into the funereal mood of TTN in the first place. The fuel of choice during recording being 'Honey Slides' as opposed to the tequila of TTN may also have had an impact.

Inspiration and motivation not withstanding, this is a classic album without a single weak track. Landing in the middle of Young's first run of stellar records from 1969-1979, it kicks off with tumbling groo…

Remembering Gram

Gram Parsons would have been 72 years old this week. 




Despite often being mistakenly put in the notorious "27 Club", he was under 2 months shy of his 27th birthday, he never achieved anything like the success of the more famous members of that tragic collection like Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain, Jim Morrisson, Amy Winehouse & Janis Joplin.

It could be argued that his influence was as great as those mentioned above, but I'd dispute that given how much Hendrix changed the course of guitar playing and Cobain changed the course of rock music. His influence was huge though. "Let It Bleed" and "Exile On Main Street" may have sounded significantly different without his friendship with Keith Richards.

The Flying Burrito Brothers' aching version of "Wild Horses" perfectly showcases his heartbreaking voice, and I think it is markedly superior to the Stones' version. 




Interestingly, it was a rare example of a Jagger/Richards composition being rele…

Songs To Die To - Part 1

An occasional series focusing on songs that speak to me about death or dying. These are not necessarily songs that talk about the process of dying, rather as the title suggests, songs that I could imagine listening to on my death bed, or taking as consolation during or after a funeral. 

Morbid? I think not, as death is part of life. If we all talked about it a little more, maybe we'd cope with it better. With that said here's my first choice.

No 1: "Land Of Hope And Dreams" - Bruce Springsteen




This is not only one of my favourite Springsteen songs, but one of the best songs he has written. Given the breadth and depth of his catalogue, that is some feat.
For the purposes of this article, I'm referring to the "Live In NYC" version as opposed to the later "Wrecking Ball" cut. Whilst the 2012 studio recording has the more gospel-style vocals, the production is a little sterile and the performance not as loose and authentic.

Everything about this song i…