Album Reviews

Be sure that you’re in the right mental state to handle this


Have you ever hear of THE RESIDENTS?

I always wanted to hear Gomer Pyle sing through a megaphone! Ahhhhh…….yes!

This avante garde group formed in the early seventies. Their album cover of MEET THE RESIDENTS is a parody of The Beatles famous record. They sound like nothing else I have ever heard of before.

I guess you could compare them to the likes of Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart. Perhaps some strange jazz compositions as well. Vaudeville, carnivals, weird voices, rock n roll noises and disorienting sound effects all make up this art form.

Just like The Gorillaz, this group of musicians keeps their identities mysterious. They wear disguises to maintain their anonymity.

So on the first album (of an amazing 60 altogether), known as MEET THE RESIDENTS, there is random piano strikings. It all sounds sloppy and even amateur but on purpose. Somehow their riffs are catchy while annoying too. At first I was confused but somehow became hooked on their stuff.

It’s really weird and playful with silly dialogue

It’s collage art but with various noises instead of pictures pasted together.

It’s genius
it’s mood altering

it’s the first record in a series of my future postings

I’ll give you a clue and requirements of what I consider to be weird, obscure, talented, classic and bizarre.

My criteria for excellence is quite simple. Two concepts. One is…..Many artists invent a new language for music and emotion OR the second…..artists use that language in an emotionally powerful way. The greatest albums do both!

Album Reviews

I wanna find this one on vinyl

I remember it was the late 90’s when I was looking through one particular issue of Rolling Stone magazine. There was a list of the best albums (at least according to the staff of the magazine). I stumbled upon a review of this person named Captain Beefheart. It seemed like a strange name. Yet I wanted to know more about this unusual record, “Trout Mask Replica.” This was an interesting cover and title for sure. I listened to samples on an mp3 website and thought, “boy this is total rubbish.” So I moved on and focused my attention elsewhere.

Then a few years later, I think around 2002-2003, I came across it again at a Tower Records. It was playing over the intercom and suddenly I found myself liking what I was hearing. Not sure why this happens to many of us. We hate spinach as a kid but then later in life we somehow LOVE IT. We cherish a certain movie as a little boy but then HATE IT when we get older. This happened to me with Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band TROUT MASK REPLICA.

This stuff is unique. It is a fusion of delta blues, country, free form jazz, and boogie. This record influenced numerous albums for years to come. These 28 tracks do test patience and tolerance for their unusual arrangements. A casual listener, like I once was, could get easily bewildered by this barrage of vocals and chaotic music. Frank Zappa was the producer and he helped formulate an abstract painting of pure enjoyment of the avant-garde. This was really a 60’s masterpiece.

I finally caved in and bought it on cd. I listened to it numerous times. I love the improvised lack of structure, yet amazing guitar thrashings and tight drumming it possesses. Its really silly and basically makes no sense. Random saxophones and clarinets and seemingly lack of structures. It has this way of transforming my mood to another place.

John Peel (British DJ) once said, “If there has been anything in the history of popular music which could be described as a work of art in a way that people who are involved in other areas of art would understand, then Trout Mask Replica is probably that work.”

The captain (real name, Don Glen Vliet) and his boys exploded violently away from the norm and decided to explore new territories altogether.If I could find this beauty in vinyl format, I would buy it.

Album Reviews

The KING of Crimson


The band is called King Crimson!

This is Incredible Stuff. “In The Court of The Crimson King” is a colorful, haunting, moody, captivating musical experience. The cover painting is quite scary. Deep lyrics. You can try, but I don’t believe a bad song can be found on the album. Although some say that the free-form stuff and improvised sections are long, boring and pointless, but those people just think differently. It fits the dreamy atmosphere of the rest of the songs nicely. And “21st Century Schizoid Man”……boy that’s comfortable like a hot shower. So original, and incredibly wacko. You got a gigantic riff going on, blasting sax and this “end of the world” vision. A pretty and timeless album, and a real ground-breaking piece of work for 1969. Textures galore!

You may hear a familiar voice on this record. Greg Lake….who went on to create Emerson, Lake and Palmer eventually. He once said, “The band was never promoted. It was totally by word of mouth. It spread like smallpox!” But man I have been listening to this record again now, and wondered just where were these guys coming from and how was anyone supposed to ‘label’ such different music???? But in the end I realized what any Crimson fan does eventually…they are not about labels. It is simply about listening and enjoying.

I invite you, the reader here…to buy this cd and embark on one of the greatest musical odysseys’ still available to take a journey on…if you’ve never heard Crimson then man are you in for a treat…or on the other hand if you are like me and simply wondered how this music would stand up after all these years…granted I wasn’t even born yet but was at least exposed to ELP and artists like these guys when I was a kid…….still do yourself a favor…and return to the time when an instrument, known as the mellotron, was king. Comparison wise?…I don’t like to compare KC albums or most progressive bands to anyone…but if I must do so….its on par with ELP, early Genesis or Floyd and these artists stand above all others I think.

Album Reviews

Pass the CAN…….man


In 1971; a West German experimental band, called CAN, released a record entitled “Tago Mago.” Think Primal Scream or David Bowie or Yes and Genesis or even Radiohead when drawing for a frame of reference that provided a major influence on those artists. It was a prototype and a blueprint for so many talented groups out there today.

This was years ahead if its time. Amazing progressive music! It's psychedelic man! It might feeling annoying to a casual listener. But it is executed quite brilliantly. I highly recommend it! But why?

There's a lot of cool stuff going on in this record. There's repetitive percussive cycles, improvisation, jam sessions, intense energy and funky beats. Atmospheres and colorful explorations that feel sharp, intense and unsettling.

It's hard to predict where this album, “Tago Mago,” is going and where it will take you. I mean there is some serious avant Garde territories it takes the listener to. You might even lose touch with reality upon hearing this one. Go for it.

After you hear it, give it a couple more listens and you'll be amazed at how accessible and fun CAN really is. Then check out some more of their stuff.

Peace outC-Note

Album Reviews

Who is FAUST and why should I care?


According to the Dictionary, “Faust is the protagonist of a classic German Legend; a highly successful scholar but one dissatisfied with his life that therefore makes a pact with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.”

I am referring to a German music group in this blog. Krautrock is the way to categorize this type of sound. The word translates to “rock and electronic music which influenced experimental music which also originated in that country during the late 60’s.”

That basically means if you are a fan of adventurous, gleefully demented noise, and you haven’t heard of Faust, then there is actually no reason for you to avoid this. It’s weird and brilliant. Their self titled first album is an excellent masterpiece but is an acquired taste.

Their music took a critical reflection on art of a kind of expressionism, surrealism, absurdism, perhaps even cabaret elements and somehow exploded this all into a medium of strange, fantastic, ugly, and even bizarre music.

Just three strange long songs titled:

1) Why Don’t You Eat Carrots?
2) Meadow Meal
3) Miss Fortune

Give it a spin…..if you can find it!

(I do not own the rights to the image below)



January Playlist


January 2013.

I begin this year with the first of twelve monthly playlists.

Every month I will post a playlist that I am listening to that represents the feelings I have during a particular mood, season and feeling.

It’s January. Six days in and its been cold and a little snowy. Still the weather has been mild overall this winter. But that could change. Traditionally it is a desolate, cold and boring month. Kids go back to school soon. Some college students don’t go back until MLK Birthday. Nothing else really happens unless it snows. Then all sorts of outdoor activities pop up. Sledding, Skiing and snowball fights to name a few)

But what about the music? No holidays really. It’s cold and we just want to be warm and comfortable. So I have comprised a list of 20 tracks about winter, the cold, snow and some random ones that just “feel” good this month. Here they are:

1 Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow [Single Version] – Frank Zappa
2 Black Night – The Dodos
3 Sweetness Follows – R.E.M.
4 Aspenglow – John Denver
5 Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan
6 How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
7 The Cave – Mumford and Sons
8 White Winter Hymnal 97 – Fleet Foxes
9 Winter – Tori Amos
10 Song For A Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
11 Winter Ghosts – JBM
12 Hidden In Snow – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
13 Winter Time – Steve Miller Band
14 Cold Blows The Wind – Ween
15 Snow & Taxis – Gold Panda
16 Too Many Miracles – Badly Drawn Boy
17 Doughnut for a Snowman – Guided by Voices
18 White As Snow – U2
19 Snowblind – Black Sabbath
20 Steal Softly Through Snow – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band