Originally posted on December 20, 2007
This late in December already? Should I be talking about Bing Crosby? I still have my old man’s copy of that album with him on the cover in a Santa Claus hat (I mean Bing, not my father). It’s a funky old Decca 33 RPM pressing and it scratches in all the right places. Who can resist “Mele Keliki Moka?” I cannot.
But today I want to touch on one more category of garageband.com’s free downloads, then I’ll let that alone for a while. An additional genre I thought might be worth a try was “progressive rock,” and since historically punk and progressive rock were in a sense common enemies, I though it would make a good contrast. Nowadays, I don’t think the dividing lines are as sharp.
What do you folks think? Feel free to post a comment anytime you have a thought or reaction to what I am saying here, OK?
So anyway the choices were random as described in the last few days. I hit six this time, because the cuts can be longer. This is what I dug:
Certified “Avoiding” (“Earth,” UK)—The cut is a real ear-teaser. It begins with a nice electronic line with what sounds like pizzicato violin, then guitars, bass and drums complement the line in a good way. The vocal has a Peter Gabriel sophistication about it. There’s an interesting melody line and it is supported well by guitars and synths. The cut has a certain early Genesis-spacey quality. It gets into a hypnotic two-chord thing with atmospheric electronics and musical vocals. There’s a guitar solo with lots of echo and it sounds good.
Certified “Modern Man” (“Earth,” UK)—Another good one from this band. It starts in a rock mode with up-and-down step chords that sound a little flamenco-like. The chorus is cool and very other-worldly. The lead guitar plays a melody line that has charm, then it’s back to the two-chord Spanish thing, with suspensions interrupting to give the voice and synth a moment of introspection (really, I think). The Spanish tinge comes back and multilayered guitars build things up to a froth. I liked this one quite a bit. Seems like this band has something going on!
Daughters of Fission “Smell Our Army” (Phoenix/Tempe, AZ)—A quiet guitar and bass riff break out into a heavy thing with tom toms and such at mid-tempo. The tempo halfs and a mellotronish shimmer wafts over the rhythm. Another riff comes in at a faster tempo. The verse has good vocals and some nice guitars/synth. The chorus is a heavy pounder with some dissonance. The lyrics are anti-war (so you’ll either like that or not, I am not going to tell you what to think!) Floating melodic passages set the stage for a very nice-toned guitar solo. A final section gets into a Gothic sounding piano and walls of guitar sound. Very well done!
Hectic Watermelon “Subterranean Rapid Transit” (San Diego)—This is Mahavishnu inspired fusion with Jerry Goodman appearing on electric violin (of Flock and Mahavishnu fame). If you like fusion, listen.
You might also want to listen to “Closed Eyes” by Ivory Gates and “3-00-1999” by Johnny Unicorn. For me they are worth the time to hear. Well, that’s it for these downloads for a while. I hope the bands get their careers moving through this service. And it’s good of them to give us a taste of their music for free.