Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2009 In Review

Ok so it took me over 2 months to write this, and in all actuality I didn't write crap. I made this list to white about each catagory, but then I realized I just didn't care. So now I'm sick of this staring up at me every time I sign into Blogger, so here it is: 2009 In Review.

682 Total Albums Played

One surprise was my favorite band Clutch; they gathered only four full album plays all year and two of those were brand new albums. I really expected this to be more.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Good Progressive Rock: Rush And Kansas

This past month, I've been listening to the entire Rush discography (8 out of 19 complete at the time of this writing), and I just now finished the first Kansas album, and I have to say; I really like this 70's progressive rock sound that these guys put out. A lot of people know of Rush and their prog music (2112 anyone?), but not a lot of people know more from Kansas then "Carry On Wayward Son," "Dust In The Wind," or "Point Of Know Return" (including myself).
After listening to their self-titled (and heading into their second, Masque) release I have an added respect for this group. They stick to the semi-mainstream venue of prog, not being of the King Crimson-style of pretentiousness. They mix the straight-forward focus of classic (read: 70's) rock with the interesting instrumentation, song structure and lyrical content of other progressive bands. Half of their songs are short and seemingly radio friendly, and the others are longer (over seven minutes) story-arch songs of varying subjects. Kind of a neat blend.
Rush does this too, but to a less successful extent. For this article I am only using the 70's/early 80's music of Rush (aka classic Rush), but they continuously fall into the same rut of trying to be more 'epic' then what is needed. Now I love Rush, and I really don't want to say anything negative about them, but after listening to almost all of their 'good' albums, their music is just better when they focus more on the rock style and less on the progressive element. Starting with their third album, Caress Of Steel (and soon after the addition of Niel Peart), their music becomes skewed into the inaccessible forms of prog music. The songs are long, to a ridiculous extent, and the lyrics are quite silly at times - but the music still rocks, so I have no complaint there. It's just that each album only has two or three decent songs to its credit, and two or three ten-plus minute epic pieces that fall flat after the first five minutes. 2112 is the exception, and I think they took the awesomeness of that song, and tried to re-create it with each following disc; as noted with "Cygnus X-1" and "Cygnus X-1 Book II" on the following albums, A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres.
As the group enters the 80's the super long songs wain away, but so too does the rock aspect. Instead the group focuses on different styles and sounds, to keep up with the ever-changing soundscape we live in. And I have no fault with that, you have to do what you do to survive. If they were still putting out the same style of records as their debut album, this article would have a very different spin to it, mostly about how boring the band has begun (and that article probably would have never been made). So I guess a congrats are in order for the guys from Rush, for still being together and still putting out decent albums (not the same, but still decent), for all these years.

Again, I am only two Kansas albums in, and I know the group takes a major nose dive somewhere in the 80's as far as quality is concerned, but in the golden days, they have a better grasp on understandable progressive rock then the Canadian kings of prog: Rush. So go out and give Kansas a try, you'll probably be surprised at how much you like their sound.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Video: Goblin Cock "We've Got A Bleeder"

Goblin Cock is another funny band, both in name and in song lyrics. And I also never have a clue what goes on within their music videos. "We've Got A Bleeder" is no exception to this. I just listened to the album that this song is off of, Come With Me If You Want To Live, and I heard their debut release, Bagged And Boarded, last week.
The second album is a lot more straight-forward and serious then the first - I mean in the actual musicality of the album, not the band itself. The music is much more stoner then the droning sound of the predecessor, and the tunes just rock more. I really like the direction this band is taking, and they are another new addition within the stoner collection on my hard drive.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Albums Listened To In January (81)

The New Year: what does it bring? Only an awesome collection of new bands and albums. As you will see below, I started off January continuing the December path of just listening to classic rock and full discographies, but at the end (actually the very last day) of week 2 I moved into the new bands like Wiht and Wo Fat. The next few weeks (it continues even now) were filled with new stoner/doom bands, spliced in with the older acts I listen to on my drive to work every day.

The way I listen to music has evolved: while at home I focus on new albums and artists, with the occasional classic album/band thrown in, and on my 40+ min drive to and from work every day I listen to entire discographies of artists I've already heard. This is how I listened to so much Deep Purple and Uriah Heep (both bands are amazing in their early works), as well as the more modern Tyr, Bigelf and Shinedown.
This way of listening has opened up a good dichotomy between the new and the old. And it continues today.

Also 81 is an impressive number, as compared to last month and overall. I wish there was some way to add a bar graph to one side of this blog that I could update monthly. Does anyone know of a way to do that?